Global wind energy industry is soaring, hears Windaba

03 November 2016

China is still leading the charge in the wind energy industry, its 33% outpacing the US (17.2%), Germany (10%), India (5.8%) and Spain.

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) secretary-general Steve Sawyer, said the last two years in the global wind energy industry had seen substantial growth, after a flat period between 2009 and 2013.

He told the annual Windaba in Cape Town: “Wind supplied more than half of global power generation in 2015 – more than any other technology,” said Sawyer.

New markets were opening up all over Latin America and in Africa, new markets were also opening up, with more wind energyprojects in TunisiaGhana, Ethiopia, KenyaTanzania, Egypt and South Africa.

The GWEC expects to see 800 GW total cumulative capacity this year. In the longer term, the council is cautiously anticipating cumulative wind power capacity to be between 8% and 10% of global electricity by the end of this decade and 20% by the end of 2030.

Sawyer expects costs to continue to decline and the industry has created 1.1-million jobs so far, with forecasts of 1.6-million by the end of this decade.

South Africa currently has 18 wind energy developments equalling 1 384 MW. More than 550 wind turbines produce this electricity.

The price of wind energy in round four of the REIPPPP was 62c/kWh, much cheaper than the forecast prices for Eskom’s new-build coal plants, Kusile and Medupi. 

Sawea says more than 80% of South Africa’s land mass has the wind conditions to produce high load factors. 

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