- Published: 11 July 2017 11 July 2017
Wind energy is becoming mainstream
Currently the wind energy business is in a good state. European wind power investments in 2016 rose € 43 billion from € 35 billion in 2015, an increase of 22%. Also the global energy system is creating more jobs in renewables than in fossil-fuel technologies. More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). China, Brazil, the USA, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs. New wind installations contributed to a 7% increase in global wind employment, raising it up to 1.2 million jobs. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, IRENA expects that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and leading to renewables becoming a major economic driver around the world.
The fact that wind energy is becoming a mainstream energy source has of course to do with the costs continuing to drop so it becomes (more) competitive with other energy (fossil) sources. This year’s forecast New Energy Outlook 2017 (NEO2017) from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) sees onshore wind energy costs dropping a further 47% by 2040. BNEF expects US$ 7.4 trillion to be invested in new renewable energy plants by 2040 – which is 72% of the US$ 10.2 trillion that is projected to be spent on new power generation worldwide. Wind draws US$ 3.3 trillion and sees a fourfold increase in capacity. Wind and solar will make up 48% of the world’s installed capacity and 34% of electricity generation by 2040, compared with just 12% and 5% now. Offshore wind levelised costs will slide a huge 71% by 2040. In Germany the first offshore wind farms will be commissioned in 2024 without support from the German government. Also companies participating in the upcoming Dutch tender later this year for offshore wind energy will need to come up with a bid which does not need support from the government, according to a recent interview given by the minister responsible.
Another reason wind energy is growing and gets more positive attention might be because large companies like Google and Facebook invest in wind energy as well. They have the money to support large projects and at the same time these companies give their ‘green’ image a boost, a win–win situation. And frankly, they are likely to become the largest power-consuming industry of the future (if not already) with all their data centres across the globe, so I think it is their obligation to step up and show their support for renewable energy. Feel free to share this Publishers Note on social media; it is probably powered by green energy.