Wind Renewable Energy Growth Management
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If you do not enter the lion’s den, how can you get the lion’s cubs? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Wind renewable power has, with recent technological innovations, become one of the most competitive renewable energy sources against fossil generation routes. Technology developments and cost reductions have made onshore wind power generation cost competitive against fossil power generation. Wind power costs are expected to decline further with future new innovations which should help to improve their competitiveness further against fossil options. These have led to recent strong growths in wind renewable energy applications worldwide. Globally, the total wind energy installed capacity has risen by six times since 2006. The total investments in wind energy installed capacity have risen to over USD330 billion globally. Looking ahead, the installed capacity of wind power should rise further to over 4,000 GW by the end of 2050. Details of wind renewable energy growths and new developments will be discussed more in this chapter together with international examples.
Wind renewable energy growth management
New wind renewable energy applications should help key emerging economies and developed countries to meet their climate change challenges. It should help them to meet the challenges of reducing their fossil fuel consumptions and to lower their environmental pollutions plus meet their Paris Agreement commitments. In recent years, wind renewable energy applications have been growing fast in various emerging economies and developed countries. Wind renewables have benefited from new technology developments and significant cost reductions in recent years. Onshore wind renewable power plants have become cost competitive against fossil fuel power generation options. Offshore wind power projects have also seen record low bid prices globally, especially in Europe. These have help to promote recent strong growths in wind renewable power worldwide. Globally, the total wind energy installed capacity has risen to above 450 GW. This is some six times larger than the global wind capacity in 2006, of 74 GW. The total investments in wind energy projects have risen to over USD330 billion globally which have made wind renewable energy one of the leading renewable energy sectors globally.
Wind power has been playing a greater role in power supplies in many emerging economies and developed countries globally. A good example is that wind energy has been supplying some 11% of the total power demands in EU countries. Over 24 countries around the world have already 5% or more of their annual electricity demands being supplied by wind renewable power. A good example is that in the USA, utility-scale wind power generators have been supplying over 5% of the total US electricity generation capacities. Globally, wind renewable power has been supplying over 4% of the total electricity consumptions worldwide.
Looking ahead, international energy experts have predicted that the installed capacity of wind renewable power could rise further to over 790 GW by 2020 and then increase further to over 4,000 GW by the end of 2050. Technology developments and cost reductions have already made onshore wind power generation to be one of the cheapest electric power generation options and it is cost competitive against fossil power. Looking ahead, wind power costs are expected to decline further with future new innovations which should help to improve wind renewable energy’s competitiveness against fossil fuels (REN, Global Status Report, 2018).
Globally, China has been leading with installing new wind renewable energy facilities, despite a significant decline in the country’s annual market in recent years. Overall, Asia has represented about half of all the new added capacities, with Europe and North America accounting for most of the rest. New markets for wind renewable energy have continued to be open around the world resulting in wind power being operated in more than 90 countries globally. Future challenges to wind power growths include curtailment, particularly in China, and policy uncertainty.
China has become the global market leader for wind renewable energy. It is followed by the USA and Germany. India has surpassed Brazil to be ranked fourth globally. Other top ten countries globally for new wind renewable energy additions included France, Turkey, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada. New markets for wind renewables have continued to open up elsewhere in Asia and across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Good examples included Bolivia and Georgia having installed their first wind plants. The United Kingdom has become a global leader in offshore wind renewable installations. It is followed by Germany, China, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.
International companies have continued to purchase wind renewable power from utility companies and power generators. They have been signing PPAs or buying their own wind turbines for power operations. Their main drivers are to gain access to reliable low-cost wind renewable power and to reduce their
GHG emissions. A good example is that in the USA the cumulative corporate PPA wind renewable power purchases have exceeded 5.5 GW. In Europe, both Sweden and Norway have seen a surge in demands for wind power generation from insurance companies and large corporations.
In recent years, the top wind renewable energy markets globally have contracted due to renewable policy changes and strong competition from solar PV. A good example is that the wind renewable market in China has seen a steady decline since its 2009-2011 highs. Both the UK and US markets have also declined. However, some new wind markets, such as Japan, have started to emerge.
The repowering of wind turbines has become a billion-dollar market globally, particularly in Europe. Most repowering projects have involved the replacement of old wind turbines with bigger, plus more efficient and reliable machines. Some operators have switched their relatively new machines for upgraded wind turbines together with advanced software improvements. Good country examples of repowering activities included Germany, Denmark, the USA, Finland, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan.
The global market for small wind turbine systems has also been growing. These have been used for a variety of applications, including defence, rural electrification, water pumping, battery charging and telecommunications. Experts have estimated that more than one million small turbine units have been operating worldwide. Small-scale wind systems generally are considered to be wind turbines that only produce enough power for a single home, farm or small businesses. The International Electrotechnical Commission has set a limit at approximately 50 kW. The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the American Wind Energy Association have defined “small scale” as up to 100 kW. It is very encouraging to see that in many remote locations, small wind turbines have been increasingly used to replace diesel power generators in recent years. Wind has become a viable and attractive option to supply clean renewable power to remote areas where access to electricity from grids has been difficult. Looking ahead, wind renewable power is expected to continue growing globally but possible policy changes could affect the future market growths for small-scale turbines in different countries (WWEA, Small Wind World Report, 2017).
It is also interesting to note that community and citizen investments in wind renewable power generation projects have been expanding in recent years in different countries globally. A good country example is that in Ontario, Canada, the country has commissioned its first community-owned wind renewable power project into commercial operation.