Wind Energy in Europe: What Will it Look Like in 2030?
Wind power is a plentiful and efficient source of renewable energy. Together with solar power, biomass and geothermal, it’s one of the sources that has the most promise when it comes to reshaping the world’s energy and fuel mix in a responsible way. And according to Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council, wind energy could be used to generate as much as 20% of the electricity on earth by the year 2030.
Furthermore, their Global Wind Energy Outlook report even delves into the possibilities beyond that, with an optimistic forecast for 2050 revealing that there could be anywhere between 25-30% of the world’s energy coming from wind farms.
Why Wind Farms Are Booming
Firstly, let’s look at why wind farming is such a good replacement for burning fossil fuels over other green energy.
This infographic shares some insight as to why wind farms are so successful, and how their move further out to sea has changed the pace of the industry.
(Above: Offshore Wind Farm Infographic)
It is evident that offshore wind production saw substantial growth in 2016, increasing by 40% despite the reduced funding for new clean energy. This major shift indicated a strong push for offshore farms as well as wind farms overall, and made a big impact on humankind’s drive away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.
In the space of just two years, there was a 100% increase in offshore wind farm investment, going from $15 billion in 2014 to $30 billion in 2016. Plus the average wind farm is getting bigger, as well as the typical turbine tripling in size. Today’s turbine capacity is around 8MW, with a rotor diameters of 164 metres.
Whilst offshore seems to be the trend, it’s also important to note that onshore wind farms are still the cheapest source of renewable power, second only to solar.
The Macroeconomic Benefits
A detailed report by Wind Europe gives an outlook on wind energy in 2030 and its potential macroeconomic benefits, based on three different scenarios. The three scenarios mentioned are; Low, Central and High.
The low scenario for instance, shows 256 GW of cumulative wind energy capacity being installed in the EU by the year 2030. Whilst the central scenario would be 323 GW and the higher scenario would be 397 GW.
Similarly, in the low scenario, the industry would generate 437,000 new jobs across Europe whilst the central scenario would generate 569,000 jobs and the high scenario would generate 716,000.
Not only can this kind of renewable energy production help to create jobs across the continent, but the report also shows a prediction of savings to be made in 2030 from reducing fossil fuel imports. The costs saved could be as much as €10,300 million in the low, €13,200 million in the central and €16,500 million in the high scenario respectively.
To find out more about the three scenarios of wind energy development in the EU, read the full ‘Wind Energy in Europe’ report online.