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Green Globe: Worldwide wind power to grow by 680 GW in 10 years

SNL Image
Wind turbines clustered offshore in the Netherlands in 2006.
Source: Associated Press

More than 680,000 MW of new wind energy capacity will come online over the next decade, according to an updated forecast from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Driven by policy clarity for offshore wind markets in Europe, the United States, along with strong growth in the onshore sector in Scandinavia, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables' forecast for the next decade improved by 2%. In Europe alone, some 16,000 MW of offshore wind power will be installed by the end of 2018 and another 47,000 MW of capacity is expected to come online through 2027, said Luke Lewandowski, director of Wood Mackenzie's Americas power and renewables research. The region's maturation has had a domino effect; younger markets such as the U.S. and Japan are applying lessons learned from the European experience to help jump-start their offshore wind sectors.

"The European offshore wind power experience has encouraged governments in other regions to support offshore wind to comply with carbon reduction strategies and renewable energy targets as well as more firmly secure domestic power supply," Lewandowski said.

As for onshore wind, Sweden, Norway and Finland spurred the largest upgrade in Wood Mackenzie's onshore wind forecast; the estimate for the region improved by more than 5,000 MW quarter over quarter, which means the three countries will account for 15% of new onshore wind capacity installed in Europe over the next 10 years. More competition on costs and the expectation of higher power prices across Europe have spurred project investment and power offtake agreements.

India maintains that it will reach its Paris Agreement pledge of installing 175,000 MW of clean energy capacity by 2022, though the government will need to accelerate efforts to reach that target on time.

According to the country's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy year-end review, India has installed 73,350 MW of renewable energy capacity as of October 2018. This includes nearly 35,000 MW of wind and 24,330 MW of solar power, compared to the country's 2022 target of 60,000 MW of wind energy capacity and 100,000 MW of solar power capacity.

The country currently has 46,750 MW of renewable energy projects either tendered or under construction, including solar, wind, hydropower and biomass plants. In a Dec. 10 press release, India's government said it will solicit bids for 60,000 MW of solar energy and 20,000 MW of wind energy through the end of 2020.

Despite the government's confidence, the feasibility of reaching the 2022 goal has come under scrutiny. Wood Mackenzie estimates that India will reach about 76% of its 2022 target, with non-hydro renewables making up 13% of the country's power generation mix by 2023. Moody's has suggested that while the levelized cost of electricity from wind and solar installations is declining in India, the country's energy transition is still a "work in progress" with weak credit profiles for project off-takers and a lack of robust infrastructure.

Mexico's grid operator and regulator Cenance has suspended an ongoing clean energy auction, with no indication of when results will be announced, to give the country's new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador time to review the tender, according to a Dec. 5 report from WindPower Monthly.

The tender winners were originally slated to be announced on Nov. 2, but Cenace had pushed that back to Dec. 18. Electricité de France SA, Enel SpA and Iberdrola SA were some of the developers pre-qualified to compete in the tender, in which they would have signed contracts in February 2019 if they came out victorious.

The auction suspension comes after López Obrador was sworn into office on Dec. 1 following his election win in July. At the heart of his energy policy, López Obrador believes in bolstering the national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos SA de CV, and has been critical of foreign investments, according to The Washington Post.


* A 158.7 MW wind farm is underway in Senegal, marking construction of West Africa's soon-to-be first utility-scale wind project.

* Less than six months after China slowed down development in the sector's biggest market, executives are hopeful that a rebound in the market is coming.

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