Unfortunately many countries have neglected investment in new capacities in the past years and decades and kept electricity prices artificially low. In such light, wind and other renewables appear to be more expensive, although in reality wind is lower priced than most other technologies, when new and full investment costs are compared. Operation cost of wind turbines are amongst the lowest as well.
At the same time, recent incidents have indicated very clearly that nuclear power, also due to its big risks and external costs, is not feasible economically, socially and environmentally. Hence an increasing number of countries have started to phase out nuclear power, like decided last weekend by an overwhelming majority in Italy where 94 % of the population refused a nuclear renaissance and wants more renewable energy instead. In total, only 30 countries are using nuclear energy, while already more than 80 countries are using wind energy on a commercial basis today.
Other traditional energy sources such as coal, oil or gas are not only facing limitation of resources, but they are causing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution and hence cannot be seen as sustainable energy sources either.
Instead, the world has to look for wind energy, in combination with other renewable energies. It is important to underline that wind energy offers a very broad range of applications. Wind energy is versatile and can serve that needs from rural areas in unserved areas in developing countries up to large scale applications and energy intensive industries in industrialised regions and countries.
A number of challenges for wind energy still need to be addressed. These challenges are mainly in the regulatory field, as most of the required technical solutions do already exist:
– adjusting the grid and making the grid more flexible,
– combining and integrating the different renewable energy technologies
– in general further improving national and international policies, including improved financing schemes, especially for the developing countries.
Wind energy is a very popular form of energy being used around the world, as various surveys have shown. Still it should also be underlined that social support and distribution of social benefits are a key for the success of wind power. Hence, WWEA recently proposed a community power definition.