World risks being two-thirds short on wind energy

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: Global Wind Energy Council

The world needs to scale up annual wind energy installations by a factor of four this decade to meet mid-century climate goals, according to a report released earlier this month by the Global Wind Energy Council, a global trade group representing the industry.

At current installation rates, countries will have less than two-thirds of the wind energy capacity needed by 2030 to set them on a net-zero emissions path by 2050, the group forecast in its latest yearly report.

Countries need to reach a cumulative wind capacity of 3,101 gigawatts to meet net-zero emissions by 2050 scenarios, substantially higher than the current capacity of 837 GW.

The findings reflect the wider challenges the world faces as it tries to redesign the energy system, including building up more grid infrastructure, in the race to fight climate change.

“Current policy and market frameworks are creating a widening gap between ambition and reality,” it states.

Three times more offshore wind was installed in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the report, but total new global wind installations (onshore and offshore) for 2020 and 2021 were almost equal, with about 95 GW and 94 GW respectively.

The world’s top five markets in 2021 for new installations were China, the United States, Brazil, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom. These five markets combined made up 75.1% of global installations last year, according to the report.

China made up 80% of offshore wind capacity added worldwide in 2021, bringing its cumulative offshore wind installations to 27.7 GW. “This is an astounding level of growth, as it took three decades for Europe to bring its total offshore wind capacity to a similar level,” the report states.