Wind energy to share 22% of global market by 2030

Electricity generated by wind turbines will meet 12 percent of global overall power demand by 2020, and the proportion will rise to 22 percent by 2020, according to a joint report released Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace International.

The Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010 predicts in its boldest scenario that the combined global wind power capacity will exceed 1 million megawatts (MWs) in the following decade, five times of current installed capacity.

"Wind power can make a massive contribution to decarbonizing the conventional power sector, but we need political commitments to make it happen," said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the GWEC.

The significant increase in wind farm capacity could help save as much as 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, which represents 50 to 75 percent of the greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges made by industrialized countries in Copenhagen last year, according to the report.

In addition, the wind energy industry is going to provide 3 million "green collar" jobs worldwide in the next two decades, increasing dramatically from the current 600,000, the report said.

However, established government subsidies in the conventional energy sector, such as coal thermal power, as well as a non-market-driven electricity-pricing system, could hinder the wind turbines generated electricity from entering into the existing power network and jeopardizing the further development of wind energy, Sawyer said.

The report was launched ahead of the China Wind Power 2010 event. China is now the world’s largest wind power market and home to the world’s largest wind-turbine-manufacturing industry.

Between 2001 and 2008, China’s installed wind-power capacity increased 30 fold. This year, China is expected to produce wind turbines with an overall capacity of 35,000 MW, but less than one third of them are in domestic demand, according to an earlier report by Southern Metropolis Daily.

"We can’t say China’s wind power industry is overheated before the 2010 figures finally come out in January or February," Sawyer told the Global Times.