Wind power to provide a fifth of world’s electricity by 2030

Press release - 12 October, 2010
Beijing, 12 October 2010: Wind could meet 12% of global power demand by 2020, and up to 22% by 2030, according to a study published today by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International.

The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010’ (GWEO 2010) (1) finds that wind power could play a key role in satisfying the world’s increasing power demand, while at the same time achieving major greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The 1,000 GW of wind power capacity projected to be installed by 2020 would save as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of CO₂ every year. These reductions would represent 50-75% of the cumulative emissions reductions that industrialised countries committed to in their 2020 ‘Copenhagen pledges’. By 2030, a total of 34 billion tons of CO₂ would be saved by 2,300 GW of wind power capacity. 

“Wind power can make a massive contribution to global electricity production and to decarbonising the power sector, but we need political commitment to make this happen.” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General. “Wind power technology provides governments with a viable option for truly tackling the challenges of our time and for being part of the energy revolution our planet needs.”

 In addition to environmental benefits, wind energy is becoming a substantial factor in economic development, providing more than 600,000 ‘green collar’ jobs today both in direct and indirect employment. By 2030, the number of jobs is projected to increase to over 3 million.

“In 2010 the 600,000 workers of the wind industry put up a new wind turbine every 30 minutes – one in three of those turbines was erected in China (2),” said Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert from Greenpeace International. “By 2030, the market could be three times bigger than today, leading to a €202 bn investment. A new turbine every seven minutes – that’s our goal.”

The report was launched in Beijing ahead of the China Wind Power 2010 event. China is now the world’s largest wind power market, and home to the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturing industry. The GWEO 2010 forecasts an increase of up to ten times the current installed capacity in China by 2020, up from just 25 GW at the end of 2009 (2).

Wind energy is already a mainstream power generation source in many countries, and it is now deployed in more than 75 countries around the world.

“Interestingly, a great proportion of wind power growth is already happening outside of the industrialised world,” said Klaus Rave, GWEC’s Chairman. “By 2030, we expect that around half the world’s wind farms will be located in developing countries and emerging economies.”


Angelika Pullen, GWEC, +32 473 947 966,

Sven Teske, Greenpeace International renewable energy campaign, + 31 62129 68 94

Alexandra Dawe, Greenpeace International communications officer, + 31 646177533

Editors Notes:

1) This third edition of the GWEO 2010 explores three different scenarios for wind power: a Reference scenario based on figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA); a Moderate version which assumes that current targets for renewable energy are successfully met; and an Advanced scenario which assumes that all policy options in favour of renewables have been adopted. These are then set against two projections for global power demand. All numbers in this release refer to the Advanced scenario.

2) Approx 40 GW, 2MW per turbine – approx 13 GW in China.

3) On 13 October, Greenpeace China, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) and Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) will launch the China Wind Power Outlook, a national report about the latest status of China's wind energy sector and its potential. To find out more about its findings please contact Tom Wang, Greenpeace China Communications Tel: + 86 139 1090 26173

4) Copies of ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010’ can be downloaded at