Wind power can meet 12 per cent of global electricity within two decades, Greenpeace reports

May 29, 2002 — Greenpeace and the wind energy industry on Tuesday released a global blueprint to provide 12 per cent of the world’s future electricity by 2020.

The feasibility study was presented to governments meeting at the final pre-summit meeting in Bali that the only thing that stands in the way of a renewable energy revolution is the lack of political will.

“Governments coming to the table to sort out the energy needs for the future through the Earth Summit will fail in their mandate if they ignore the industrial potential of wind power. Twelve per cent is the equivalent total amount of electricity used recently in Europe, or twice that of China,” said Corin Millais of Greenpeace.

“Wind power works, it’s time for politicians to do the same. The only barrier is political blindness, and a woeful ignorance of what wind power can deliver for the world. If governments ceased their perverse subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear power – $250-300 billion world-wide a year – we will have clean affordable energy for the world.”

“Wind power has established itself as the fastest growing energy source in the world. The growth has been impressive, but this is only the beginning,” said Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association. “Wind Force 12 shows that there are no technical barriers or resource limits preventing the world from enjoying the dual benefit of affordable energy and a sustainable environment. The technology is available and the resource will never run out. The wind industry is ready and capable of meeting this target, we have the resources and capabilities, yet need stronger political signals to deliver.”

The report was endorsed by Mark Moody Stuart, former Chairman of Shell and Co-Chair of the G8 renewable Energy Task Force. In the foreword to Wind Force 12 he states “for wind and other renewable energy sources to spread world-wide, we have to ensure that the international finance institutions and export credit agencies are as willing to make finance available for renewable energy projects as they have been for what was conventional power….we also have to ensure that market distorting subsidies are removed.”

The report demonstrates that, by 2020, wind power can deliver:

o 12 per cent of global electricity demand, assuming that global demand doubles by then
o Creation of 1.475 million jobs
o Cumulative carbon dioxide savings of 11,768 million tonnes
o 1,261,000MW wind energy installed generating 3,093 Terrawatt hours (TWh)

(3,093 TWh is equivalent to the current electricity use of all of Europe, twice that of China, two thirds of North America, or three times that of Latin America.)

By the end of 2001, global wind power installed was almost 25,000 MW. Wind power worldwide employs around 70,000 people, has an annual turnover of more than US $5 billion, has been growing at an average rate of 40 per cent annually over the past 5 years, and meets the electricity needs of around 14 million households. Although Europe accounts for 70% of this capacity, other regions are beginning to emerge as substantial markets. Over 45 countries around the world now contribute to the global total.

New installations of wind power capacity have surpassed new nuclear capacity installation in the past three years, the report stated. During 2001, 6,800 MW of new wind capacity was installed.

The full report in PDF format may be downloaded from:

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