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Wind energy increasing share of world electrical production

April 20, 2016
Wind-power projects around the world accounted for almost half of the new electrical generating capacity installed in 2015, as the cost of turbines fell and pressure mounted to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

After last year’s building spree, wind power now makes up about 4 per cent of the global supply and could represent almost one-third of electrical production by 2050, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council, which represents companies and national associations in the industry.

About 63 gigawatts of new wind power was added around the world in 2015 – enough to power more than 10 million homes – and almost half of that was built in China. At year-end, there was about 433 GW of total wind capacity globally, up about 17 per cent from the year before. Among renewables, only solar has grown faster – adding 26 per cent last year, although from a much smaller base.

Canada now has the seventh-most wind power in the world, with about 11 GW of capacity, far behind first-place China with 145 GW and second-place United States with 74 GW.

“It is clear that wind is now a mainstream source of energy supply and will play a leading role in decarbonization,” the report said, although costs still need to come down, and reliability needs to be improved if much more wind is to be integrated into electricity distribution grids.

The report projects that wind-power production will almost double by the end of the decade to about 800 GW, and could reach 4,000 GW by 2050. The greatest growth will likely occur in Asia.

Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council, said on a conference call Tuesday that wind power will likely supply up to 8 per cent of the world’s electricity by 2020, 20 per cent by 2030 and almost one-third by 2050.

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