This article was written by Jennifer McDermott of the Associated Press and was published in the Toronto Star on March 27, 2023.
The wind power industry on Monday projected growth to rapidly accelerate this year, with incentives and policy changes in key nations helping to overcome factors that led to a slowdown in 2022.
The Global Wind Energy Council in Brussels also cited concern about climate change, as well as secure energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for a fast-growth outlook in its annual Global Wind Report. The international trade association projected 680 gigawatts of new onshore and offshore wind will be installed by 2027 – enough to power about 657 million homes annually.
“The twin challenges of secure energy supplies and climate targets will propel wind power into a new phase of extraordinary growth,” the council said in its report.
The wind power market stalled in 2022 because of government policies that encouraged “race to the bottom” pricing, and because of inflation, higher logistics costs and inefficient permitting and licensing rules, the council said. The industry added about 78 gigawatts of wind capacity globally in 2022 — down 17% from 2021, but still the third-best year ever for new capacity.
This year, the industry will reach a historic milestone — 1 terawatt, or 1,000 gigawatts, of wind energy installed worldwide, the council said. The 2-terawatt milestone should come in 2030 if policymakers strengthen supply chains to meet demand and address permitting and other bottlenecks, the council added.
“2023 will mark the start of a decisive turnaround,” Council CEO Ben Backwell wrote in the report. “Governments of all the major industrialized nations have enacted policies that will result in a significant acceleration of deployment.”
The council pointed to incentives for renewable energy development in the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, and policies in Europe and China that further expand the role of renewables. Vietnam and the Philippines are enacting new plans for wind, India seems set to pick up the pace, and Brazil will continue to establish itself as a wind energy powerhouse, the report said.
China led the world in both onshore and offshore wind development last year, and is expected to continue to lead in 2023. The Asia-Pacific region surpassed Europe in 2022 as the world’s largest offshore wind market, according to the report. Europe continues to build the most floating offshore wind farms.
The industry’s year-over-year growth, forecast to be 15%, is enormous compared to most other industries, the council said. But even that rapid growth will fall short of what experts say wind needs to contribute to renewables growth by 2030 to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold that scientists have said is imperative to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
“The message for policymakers from this year’s Global Wind Report is clear: it is time to double down on your ambition and deliver the support that will secure the clean energy future dawning in front of us,“ Backwell said in a statement.