Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wind Boom

Wind energy generation is booming [pdf].

Brussels, 2 February 2007. The booming wind energy markets around the world exceeded expectations in 2006, with the sector experiencing yet another record year. On the day of the publication of the 4th Assessment Report on Climate Change by the IPCC, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released its annual figures for 2006. These figures, which include wind energy developments in more than 70 countries around the world, show that the year saw the installation of 15,197 megawatts (MW), taking the total installed wind energy capacity to 74,223 MW, up from 59,091 MW in 2005.

Despite constraints facing supply chains for wind turbines, the annual market for wind continued to increase at the staggering rate of 32% following the 2005 record year, in which the market grew by 41%. This development shows that the global wind energy industry is responding fast to the challenge of manufacturing at the required level, and manages to deliver sustained growth. In terms of economic value, the wind energy sector has now become firmly installed as one of the important players in the energy markets, with the total value of new generating equipment installed in 2006 reaching €18 billion, or US$23 billion.
China is getting into the act. One of the resons for this is that China uses coal for most of its electrical generation. One of the major sources of air pollution in China.
Asia has experienced the strongest increase in installed capacity outside of Europe, with an addition of 3,679 MW, taking the continent over 10,600 MW. In 2006, the continent grew by 53% and accounted for 24% of new installations. The strongest market here remains India with over 1,840 MW of new installed capacity, which takes its total figure up to 6,270 MW.

China more than doubled its total installed capacity by installing 1,347 MW of wind energy in 2006, a 70% increase from last year’s figure. This brings China up to 2,604 MW of capacity, making it the sixth largest market world wide.

The Chinese market was boosted by the country’s new Renewable Energy Law, which entered into force on 1 January 2006. “Thanks to the Renewable Energy law, the Chinese market has grown substantially in 2006, and this growth is expected to continue and speed up. According to the list of approved projects and those under construction, more than 1,500 MW will be installed in 2007. The goal for wind power in China by the end of 2010 is 5,000 MW, which according to our estimations will already be reached well ahead of time,” said Li Junfeng of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA).
How is North America doing?
22% of the world’s new wind capacity was installed in North America, where the annual market increased by a third in 2005, gaining momentum in both the US and Canada.

For the second year running, the US wind energy industry installed nearly 2,500 MW, making it the country with the most new wind power.

“Strong growth figures in the US prove that wind is now a mainstream option for new power generation,“ said Randy Swisher, President of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Wind’s exponential growth reflects the nation’s increasing demand for clean, safe and domestic energy, and continues to attract both private and public sources of capital. New generating capacity worth US$4 billion was installed in 2006, billing wind as one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country – second only to natural gas – for the second year in a row.”
2,500 MW of new capacity is roughly equivalent to one nuke plant. How many nuke plants were added last year? Zero. How many are expected next year? Zero. How many are projected to be built in the next five years? Zero.

A 25% a year increase in the rate of capacity installation means that within three years or so we will be installing two nuke plants worth of wind a year. In six years that will be four nukes worth of wind per year. etc. An astounding rate of increase for such large systems.

You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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