Wind Energy Industry Under The Spotlight

Protecting the planet is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds, especially those in government. We aim to protect the resources we have and are constantly moving towards greener initiatives in order to safeguard the planet. In the past, we have been heavily reliant on fossil fuels like coal and gas. Formed over millions of years, our rate of consumption makes these energy sources unsustainable, driving us to develop more environmentally friendly practices.

The opportunities are endless, especially with the use of wind. However, it’s wind power that has made the most significant impact on how we generate and use energy — and we’re becoming increasingly reliant on it as an energy source.

In the UK in 2016, windfarms generated more energy in comparison to those from coal power plants. This was the first time wind power has exceeded coal power 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.

Electricity fuelled by coal has reached its lowest. So what does the future hold for the wind energy sector in the UK and beyond?

In 5 years’ time

2016 was the year that the industry had to think of their next move. In total, the global installed capacity was 486,790 MW at the end of 2016 — an impressive figure by anyone’s standards.

Growth is expected to get higher in 2017. Expectations with the global installed capacity to rise to 546,100 MW. By 2018, this figure will 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. 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.

Continued development is expected to carry on within the market. 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.

Investing in the future

Investing in the future is a must if we aim for success in the sector. In 2016, €43 billion was spent on constructing new wind farms, refinancing, fundraising and project acquisitions — an increase of €8 billion compared to 2015.

Focus on offshore sites seems to be rising in comparison to windfarms on the land. 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 dwarfs the country in second place, Germany, with €5.3 billion.

€1.8 billion has already been invested in Europe’s new projects within the first quarter of 2017. 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.

The research above was carried out by controlled bolting for wind turbines specialist Hire Torque as they look at the market’s global potential.





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