There was an almost 20 per cent growth in the wind power capacity across the world for 2019, following up on a year that saw record growth in offshore wind farms as well as in onshore projects in the United States and China.
Compared to 2018, there was a 19.4 per cent growth in wind power capacity, by 60.4 gigawatts, found the Global Wind Energy Council, which is one of the highest ever for the global wind power industry.
A record year of growth in the offshore wind capacity, which grew by 6.1GW, accounted for the spike and contributed to a tenth of new wind farm installations for the first time.
The largest markets for onshore wind power development in the world still were the US and China, found the council’s annual report. Almost two-thirds of global growth in wind power was accounted for by the two countries, the report stated.
According to previous forecast by the GWEC, 2020 was identified to be a year for a record growth in the rollout of wind energy projects with a projected growth of 20 per cent. But the global coronavirus pandemic has made the outcome of the predictions unknown for now.
Along with an economy-wide slowdown in manufacturing and infrastructure development because of the coornavirus pandemic, the construction of energy projects could also slow down. However, the virus pandemic could also present an opportunity for the wind power industry, the council believes.
The global economy could be severely impacted by the virus breakout, the council said, and it called on governments to view this fast growing industry as a means to stage a global economic recovery.
This call comes following a warning from the chief of the International Energy Agency, Dr Fatih Birol, who said that the virus pandemic could negatively impact development of clean energy unless governments take the onus of using green energy investments to stimulate economic recovery.
“We have an important window of opportunity,” Birol said. “Major economies around the world are preparing stimulus packages. A well-designed stimulus package could offer economic benefits and facilitate a turnover of energy capital which have huge benefits for the clean energy transition.”
With respect to the keeping the global temperatures in check as part of the Paris climate accord, the global growth of clean energy has not been as much as needed, said Ben Backwell, the chief executive of GWEC.
“If we are to have any chance at reaching our Paris agreement objectives and remaining on a 1.5C pathway, we need to be installing at least 100GW of wind energy per year, and this needs to rise to 200GW per year and beyond,” he said.
For the current year of 2020, the council had forecast a growth of global wind power installations of 76GW. However the onset of the coronavirus pandemic will force the council to make a re-evaluation of the growth possibilities for the current year and would be announced sometime in the second quarter.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)