Wind power refers to the conversion of wind energy into electricity using turbines. It is a significant and powerful resource and is also the fastest growing energy resource in the world. Globally, this form of power generation has seen significant expansion between, and it forms one of the big renewable energy‘ wedges’ against carbon emissions.
In 2005, worldwide capacity of generators was around 59 gigawatts (GW), and by the end of 2008 it had reached 120.8 GW. Some say that one third of the world’s electricity can be supplied by this resource, which could mean 113 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide saved by 2050.
By the end of 2008 the United States (25.1 GW) passed Germany (23.9 GW) to become the world’s number one in blade power, and China’s total capacity doubled for the fourth year in a row. The Chinese market reached over 12 GW of total installed capacity. Total worldwide installations in 2008 were more than 27 GW, dominated by the three main markets in Europe, North America and Asia.
There is no doubt that this form of energy has become an important player in the world’s energy markets. The global market for turbine installations in 2008 was worth about EUR 36.5bn or $US47.5bn.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the world’s energy needs will be almost 60% higher in 2030 than they are now. Two-thirds of this increase will arise in China, India and other rapidly developing economies, which will account for almost half the energy consumption by 2030. Alternative power like this is part of the global warming solution. It drastically cuts thousands of tons of carbon dioxide spewed out by fossil fuelled power stations each day. The largest turbines in the world are around 5 megawatts (7.5MW coming soon) in size and are beginning make a significant contribution to our power needs.
Summary from the GWEC Report 2005:
• it is clean, free and indigenous
• combats climate change
• reduces air pollution
• provides energy security
• diversifies energy supply
• eliminates imported fuels
• prevents conflict over natural resources
• improves rural electrification and reduces poverty
• creates jobs, regional growth and innovation
• hedges prices volatility of fossil fuels
• delivers power on a large scale
• is modular and quick to install
Smaller scale, modern, home systems are not the noisy dangerous eyesores that some have thought of in the past. These generators are one of the oldest forms of renewable energy used in the world, and often the best days for this type of energy are the gloomy days when solar panels aren’t at their peak. Could you install a small home sized system? or perhaps build your own?
The Maglev wind technology (Mag-lev short for magnetic levitation) is worth keeping an eye on. The Chinese industry proponents developing this device claim it can be uspscaled to huge Gigawatt plants.