New Wave of Energy
The need for global energy transition with rising demand coupled with environmental precedence will dramatically change the way we get electricity in the near future.
A massive shift that’s happening toward renewable energy is not due to the scarcity of conventional resources but for availability of cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Renewables were the major new power source in U.S last year, outpacing coal and gas resources. Investment in renewables is estimated to be $7.8 trillion through 2040, almost four times the investments in fossil fuels over the same period. It involves $3.4 trillion for solar and $3.1 trillion for wind energy.
The wind and solar energy are becoming more viable options with significant improvement in capacity factor due to the recent developments in technology. Moreover generation cost has also been reduced considerably due to economies of scale; electricity produced globally by wind power has doubled four times over since 2000. The two energy resources are envisaged to be the cheapest forms of producing electricity even without government subsidies in the coming decade.
As per IRENA, the average cost of electricity generated by offshore and onshore wind could decrease by 35 and 26 percent respectively by 2025. It is estimated to be roughly 5 to 6 US cents per kilowatt hour from onshore wind.
A tremendous growth is anticipated in the wind power sector in practically all parts of the world with supply rate up to 17-19% of global electricity by 2030. A large part of this development is expected to come from the European Union, USA, and Asia. We are also seeing a continuous thrust for new wind power projects in the MENA region. Egypt and Morocco host two of the largest wind farms in the world.
India has emerged as a major wind power market with a record installation of 3.46 GWs of wind capacity in 2015, bringing total capacity to 27 GWs. Wind potential in the county is concentrated in southern, western and north-western regions. The government is making efforts to spur inter-state trading of wind power in order to achieve the target of 60 GWs of wind capacity by 2022.
What we need now is a comprehensive regulatory frame work to boost trade of green technology solutions around the world. In this regard, many WTO countries are working on an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) that would eliminate tariffs on environmental friendly technologies such as solar and wind and would promote clean-tech development and trade all over.
That’s just the beginning; looking ahead the prospects are vast and bright for wind power. Declining costs in the sector is making it a dominant source of energy rendering conventional energies an expensive back-up option; it’s a sign that winds are shifting!