The International Energy Agency (IEA) has set a target of up to 18% share of global electricity from wind power or up to 2,800GW by 2050 from the current 2.5%; the new target is estimated to curb CO2 emissions of up to 4.8Gt annually.
In its 2013 wind energy roadmap, the IEA reports the 2050 target can be achieved by rapid scaling up of the current annual installed capacity (including repowering), from 45GW in 2012 to 65GW by 2020, to 90GW by 2030 and to 104GW by 2050 with an annual investment of up to $170bn.
The wind industry has seen rapid deployment since 2008 and has currently reached 300GW cumulative installed capacity, with China occupying the first place with 75GW, followed by the US (60GW) and Germany (31GW).
The report indicates that progress in the past five years boosted energy yields (especially in low-wind-resource sites) and reduced operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have led the early wind development, while after 2010 non-OECD countries erected more wind turbines and are expected to have more than 50% of global installed capacity after 2030 that represent a rapid change in the geographical pattern of deployment.
Additionally, the roadmap assumes a reduction in cost of wind energy by around 25% for land-based and 45% for offshore by 2050 owing to increasing investment in research and development (R&D) activities to improve design, materials, manufacturing technology and reliability.
However, the wind power industry has received 2% of public energy R&D funding so far and requires greater investment to achieve wind’s full potential.
The roadmap has set key actions over the next ten years including long-term targets, supported by predictable mechanisms to drive investment and to apply appropriate carbon pricing and address non-economic barriers.
The actions also include advancing the planning of new plants by including wind power in long-term land and maritime spatial planning; develop streamlined procedures for permitting; address issues of land-use and sea-use constraints posed by various regulatory authorities.
Additionally, the actions also involve strengthening RD&D efforts and financing by increasing current public funding two- to five-fold to drive reductions in costs of turbines and support structures, to increase performance and reliability and to scale up turbine technology for offshore.