All around the world we are trying to safeguard our planet’s resources and are moving towards greener initiatives. In previous years, we’ve relied heavily on fossil fuels, such as gas and coal, but these sources aren’t sustainable, which is driving us to develop more environmentally friendly practices. Even power plant construction contractors may need to build sustainable power plants that use solar, geothermal and hydropower.
From wave power to wind turbines, the renewables market is buoyant. However, wind power is the source that’s had the biggest impact on how we generate and use energy — and we’re becoming increasingly reliant on it as an energy source.
The amount of energy generated through windfarms in 2016 by far exceeded the amount that was created by coal power plants for the first time in the UK.On Christmas Day 2016, more than 40% of all of the energy generated was from renewable sources, with 75% of this figure coming from wind turbines. This was yet another milestone figure, up from 25% in 2015 and just 12% in 2012.
Coal-fuelled electricity has also reached its lowest output for 80 years, which shows the current growth of renewables. So, what does the future hold for the wind energy sector in the UK and beyond? Evotorque specialist HTL Group looks at the market’s global potential.
Predictions for the next five years
In 2014, 2015 and 2016, there was record-breaking growth for the wind energy sector to reconsolidate. In total, the global installed capacity at the end of 2016 was 486,790 MW — an impressive figure by anyone’s standards.
However, with growth expected to pick-up once more, with predictions expecting the global installed capacity to rise to 546,100 MW. This year, this figure was anticipated to hit 607,000 MW before reaching 817,000 MW by 2021. Although the rate of growth is anticipated to slow, it’s clear that wind power will continue to occupy a large energy share on a global scale.
So, how is each region performing? Asia, North America and Europe are expected to remain the dominant wind power markets. By 2021, it’s anticipated that Asia will create 357,100 GW of energy from wind turbines. Europe is expected to hit 234,800 GW, while North America is likely to generate 159,100 GW.
Emerging markets are also expected to continue their development. For example, Latin America will grow to 40,200 GW by 2021 — up from 15,300 GW in 2016 — while the Middle East and Africa will more than quadruple their output, growing from 3,900 GW in 2016 to 16,100 GW in 2021.
Of course, to support the sector’s continued growth, there must be additional investments.In 2016, €43 billion was spent across Europe on constructing new wind farms, refinancing, fundraising and project acquisitions — an increase of €8 billion compared to 2015.
The focus on offshore windfarms as opposed to onshore sites is increasing. Investments onshore dropped by 5%, while offshore reached a record-breaking €18.2 billion. Impressively, the UK is leading the way, raising €12.7 billion for new wind energy projects. This more than overshadows the country in second place, Germany, with €5.3 billion.
While the total investment may be less, it’s clear that wind energy will remain vital to the global movement towards greener, more sustainable energy both now and in the future.