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Huge wind power growth predicted 

Huge wind power growth predicted 

Photo credit: REUTERS / Ed Stoddard.

By Anders Lorenzen

By 2027 a record 680 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity could be installed. This is according to an industry report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

However, the report came with a warning from GWEC, that policymakers need to ensure that supply chain bottlenecks do not hamper growth and so avoid missing climate targets.

The report outlined, that the reason for this optimistic growth scenario is that policies have made it possible for an accelerated deployment of both onshore and offshore wind. This means the wind industry expects to install 136 GW annually until 2027.

The Terawatt milestone

Last year the total installed wind power capacity grew to 907 GW – up from 78 GW in 2021. And this year new wind power capacity could pass the milestone of 1 terawatt (TW) installed wind power capacity. 

However, no matter how impressive this growth is, much more must be done to slow climate change. The 1.2 TW of expected wind power capacity that will be installed by the end of this decade, is only 68% of the capacity needed to help prevent temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees C.

Morten Dyrholm, chairman of the GWEC said: “Delivering to this demand requires stronger supply chains across the renewables industry – just at a time when supply chains  are threatened by inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitics and bottlenecks.” 

The report warns about supply chain issues, noting that the spare capacity in the wind energy manufacturing industry is likely to disappear by 2026. This is unless urgent investments are made in the supply chain. It also highlighted the need for industrial capacity, training and skills. In the offshore wind sector, the turbine assembly capacity in Europe will no longer be able to sustain growth outside the continent.  

And, indeed, just to meet the European energy demand it will have to double from current levels as, during the second half of this decade, shortages of key components such as blades and generators are likely to emerge.

This wind power growth spurt comes as the wind industry has reached several new milestones. There is huge innovation taking place in the field, such as bigger and more efficient turbines, the placing of offshore wind turbines further out at sea, and the relatively young and immature floating offshore wind technology.

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