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To achieve Net Zero, we need triple wind energy deployment rate: GWEC

93 GW of new capacity was installed in 2020. To meet our global climate goals, we need to deploy 280 GW of new wind energy every year

A new report published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) warns that the world needs to install new wind power capacity three times faster over the next decade to achieve global climate targets and get to Net Zero. That means a minimum of 280 GW of new wind energy should be deployed every single year if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This is according to the scenarios that have been established by international energy bodies such as IRENA and the IEA.

Every year we fall short (on wind energy installation targets), the mountain to climb in the years ahead gets higher

Ben Backwell, CEO at GWEC

2020 was the best year in history for the global wind industry with 93 GW of new capacity installed – a 53 per cent year-on-year increase, showing strong resilience in the face of COVID-19. Total global wind power capacity is now up to 743 GW, helping the world to avoid over 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually – equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of South America.

Source: GWEC

In a recent statement, GWEC urged the industry and policymakers to act fast to accelerate deployment. “Governments across the world must take a ‘climate emergency’ approach to eliminate red tape and planning delays and expand grid infrastructure to further scale-up wind power at the pace required,” said the wind energy sector representative organisation.

Wind power will be crucial in the world’s goals of achieving net zero and facilitating decarbonisation objectives. The technology has the most decarbonisation potential per MW.

There is now 743 GW of wind power capacity worldwide, helping to avoid over 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 globally – equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of South America.

Source: GWEC

Urgent action is needed: GWEC

Despite being the clean energy technology with the most decarbonisation potential per MW, the GWEC report shows that the current rate of wind power deployment will not be enough to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of this century, and urgent action must be taken by policymakers now to scale up wind power at the necessary pace.

To limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, industry and policymakers need to work collaboratively and act fast to accelerate deployment

GWEC is calling on policymakers to take a true ‘climate emergency’ approach to allow a faster ramp up including:

  • Eliminating red tape and reforming administrative structures in order to speed up and streamline licensing and permitting for projects
  • Carry out a massive increase in investments in grid, ports and other infrastructure needed to allow the ramp up in installations
  • Re-vamp energy markets to ensure that they account for the true social costs of polluting fossil fuels and facilitate a rapid transition to a system based on renewable energy

“People and governments around the world are realising that we have a limited window to head off dangerous climate change. While many major economies have announced long-term net zero targets, we need to make sure that urgent and meaningful actions are taken now to make sure this ambition is matched with fast growing investment and installations of renewable power on the ground and in the water. It is really encouraging to see record growth in China and the US last year, but now we need the rest of the world to step up to get us where we need to be,” said Ben Backwell, CEO at GWEC.

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