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Global Wind Growing at Great Speed

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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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  • Jun 8, 2019 5:47 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-06 - US Wind Power, click here for more

Is wind energy getting closer to dominating the renewable energy industry?  Wind has been considered more efficient than solar because wind turbine systems use less energy, release less carbon dioxide and produce more energy overall.  Now that production costs are coming down, will wind sweep the nation as the leader in renewable energy?  In 2016, hydro power was the largest producer of renewable electricity in the country, generating around 6.5% of the nation's total electricity while wind power provided 5.55% of the nation’s total power production.  According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) 2018 Market Report, seven states were close to doubling wind, bringing the total capacity of wind in the United States to more than 90,500 MW.  The U.S. Department of Energy predicts about 22,000 MW of offshore wind is possible by 2020, and states such as Massachusetts (1,600 MW by 2027), New York (2,400 MW by 2030), New Jersey (3,500 MW by 2030), and others have already set lofty offshore wind goals.  Floating wind turbines will also add to the increase in wind generation production.  In the U.K., Scotland’s Whitelee wind farm is being celebrated as  a "national success story" - a decade after opening.  The wind farm has generated enough clean, green energy to provide almost 90% of total annual household electricity consumed by Scottish households and businesses.  Determined to continue their efforts to meet clean energy goals, Lindsay McQuade, of Scottish Power Renewables said, "We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple if we are to deliver on net zero.  We also know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy and therefore should be part of Scotland, and the UK's, low carbon, cost-effective electricity system.”  At the end of 2018, the worldwide total cumulative installed electricity generation capacity from wind power reached 591,549 MW, an increase of 9.6 precent compared to the previous year.  The global wind power market is expected to reach a cumulative installed capacity of 1,000 GW by the end of 2025, with Asia-Pacific as the dominant region.

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A recent study revealed an increase in innovation as well.  Areas of innovation emerging from the global wind industry that were highlighted in the study were wind turbines and blades, operations and maintenance (O&M), foundations and energy storage and weather forecasting. 

Will these developing technologies keep pace with the rapid growth in wind energy?  How will the growing global wind energy market impact renewable energy as a whole but more specifically, the utility business model?  

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