IEA: Global Wind Generation Set To Grow 40 Percent By 2017

by Zoë Casey, via Renewable Energy World

Wind power will be the second biggest contributor to global renewable electricity generation by 2017, according to a ground-breaking report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Despite economic uncertainties in many countries, global power generation from renewable sources including wind will increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours (TWh) — roughly the equivalent of one-and-a-half times current electricity production in the U.S., predicts the Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012.

This is the first time the IEA has devoted a medium-term report to renewable power sources and the agency says this is “a recognition of the dynamic and increasing role of renewable energy in the global power mix”. It forecasts that renewable electricity generation will expand by 1,840 TWh between 2011 and 2017, almost 60% above the growth registered between 2005 and 2011.

By 2017, wind power (onshore and offshore) should make the largest contribution to global renewable electricity generation after hydro at 16.7%. Between 2011 and 2017, wind power should grow on average by 100 TWh per year — an increase of 15.6%, says the IEA. Onshore wind power will account for 90% of this growth, as its capacity rises from 230 GW to over 460 GW.

“Onshore wind has emerged as a mature technology, which is increasingly competitive with conventional alternatives,” comments the IEA. “The current availability of global manufacturing capacity combined with the maturity of the manufacturing industry suggests that supply-side availability should not act as a deployment bottleneck.”

China will lead capacity growth in onshore wind, says the IEA, adding 104 GW between 2011 and 2017. The US, despite uncertainty over the durability of a federal production tax credit, should add 27 GW over this period, while India is predicted to increase capacity by 17 GW, Brazil by 8 GW and the UK by 7 GW.

“As a more nascent technology, offshore wind faces larger deployment challenges,” states the report. But the IEA nonetheless believes that capacity in this sector should increase significantly from 4 GW in 2011 to 26 GW in 2017, “supported by generous incentives from governments committed to offshore development”.

The IEA forecasts that offshore capacity growth will be led by China with a rise of 6.7 GW, the UK with an increase of 5.3 GW, Germany with additional capacity of 3.8 GW and France with an increase of 1.5 GW.

This optimism sits well with the newly released figures from EWEA that show 132 new offshore wind turbines, totalling 523.2 megawatts (MW), were fully grid connected in Europe in the first six months of 2012 — a 50% increase compared to the same period in 2011 when 348.1 MW were installed.

“Renewable energy is expanding rapidly as technologies mature, with deployment transitioning from support-driven markets to new and potentially more competitive segments in many countries,” enthuses IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.

Zoë Casey is the Communications Officer and blog editor for the European Wind Energy Association. This piece was originally published at Renewable Energy World and was re-printed with permission.

One Response to IEA: Global Wind Generation Set To Grow 40 Percent By 2017

  1. Troubadour says:

    Some confusion here:

    “Global Wind Generation Set To Grow 40 Percent By 2017”


    “global power generation from renewable sources including wind will increase by more than 40%”


    Wind will increase from 234 to 486 GW in this scenario, over 100 %.

    So, renewables altogether 40%, wind 100+%.

    But this is not even very optimistic. Global Wind Energy Council thought two years ago that wind capacity by 2020 could be 1081 GW.

    Worldwatch Institute’s Lester Brown visions 3000 GW by 2020.

    Jacobson and Delucchi have proposed that 19 TW, that is 19 000 GW (nameplate capacity) by 2030 would be possible.

    Not that any of these would necessarily be possible, or at least without serious ethical problems related to local communities rights versus increased need to mine minerals.

    Anyway, if renewables are set to rise only by 40% and if we want to make serious emission cuts, then production and consumption need to drop dramatically.

    Meaning that capitalism probably must go, because it’s not very compatible with a serious drop in production and consumption. (Not that it wouldn’t be highly problematic anyway – if you don’t believe, check Naomi Klein’s and Robin Hahnel’s analyses.)

    Luckily there are good alternatives to capitalism (and other top-down systems), such as Parecon/IOPS and other varieties of libertarian socialism. (Of course these need to improve their tech-analysis also.)

    What do you think folks?

    Isn’t this clear?