A windy world

The wind energy market could reach 60,000 MW worldwide over the next five years, more than doubling its present output, the first Global Windpower conference and exhibition heard this month in Paris.

The wind energy market could reach 60,000 megawatts (MW) worldwide over the next five years, more than doubling its present output, the first Global Windpower conference and exhibition heard this month in Paris.

Opening the event, conference chairman Rakesh Bakshi said: ‘Wind energy today is a global phenomenon. It’s the fastest-growing power technology. The world has taken about 25 years to reach 25,000 MW, but over the next five years, we expect to reach 60,000 MW.’

The event, held in the CNIT, La Defense, was hosted by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association (IWTMA).

Christian Pierret, French Minister of Industry and Finance, said that 10,000 MW of new wind energy capacity would be needed in France by 2010 to meet European clean energy commitments. ‘To get there we have introduced an obligation on electricity suppliers and a fixed price for wind energy output. This will create a rapid and strong development.’

India’s Minister for Non-Conventional Energy Sources, M. Kannappan, said that his government has plans for an additional 6,000 MW wind power by 2012. He said that wind would also help bring power to some of the 76 million households that currently have no access to electricity.

Brian Wilson, UK Minister for Energy, said that Britain is aiming for 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. ‘This is going to mean a major expansion in the contribution of wind power,’ he said. A part of that goal will be met by 1,500 MW offshore capacity.

South Australian Member of Parliament Bob Such said his country is about to see a large number of projects start generating because of the national mandate for 2% of electricity to come from renewables. He expected a 1,100-MW target for wind energy to be easily exceeded.

Celebrating his county’s leading position in the world wind energy market, German MP Hermann Scheer projected 25,000 MW to be installed in Germany alone by 2010, not including a long list of proposed offshore projects. ‘The German success is based on a mixture of political support and a guaranteed price,’ he said.

EWEA President Arthouros Zervos said that a projection by the Association and Greenpeace showed that 10% of world’s electricity could come from the wind by 2020. This would ramp up to a world investment of $78 billion in that year. ‘This is a feasible target. We have already seen much higher figures than even the industry itself had projected,’ he said.

The next Global Windpower conference is scheduled to be held in Chicago in March 2004.