Wind Power Can Produce One Third of World’s Electricity by 2050

July 6, 2010

Over a third of the world’s electricity – including that required by industry – can realistically be supplied by wind energy by the middle of the century, according to a new report released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) (1) and Greenpeace. The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006’ report, provides an industry blueprint revealing how wind power could supply 34 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050. It also concludes that if wind turbine capacity were implemented on this scale, it would prevent 113 billion tons of global warming gases from entering the atmosphere by 2050.

“This report shows that if we are serious about addressing the
issue and urgency of global warming, wind energy will be the
largest source of electricity by mid-century,” said Kate Smolski,
Greenpeace global warming campaigner. “To achieve these large goals
we will need both on and offshore wind and this is why Greenpeace
has been such a strong advocate for the wind project proposed on
Cape Cod.”

The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006’ runs 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
successful, and an advanced version assuming that all policy
options in favor of renewables have been adopted. These are then
set against two scenarios for global energy demand. Under the
reference scenario, growth in demand is again based on

IEA projections; under the high energy efficiency version, a
range of energy efficiency measures result in a substantial
reduction in demand (2). Wind power has experienced major growth in
OECD countries, especially the United States and Europe, with
significant growth in developing countries such as China and India

“Wind energy is the most attractive solution to the world’s
energy challenges. It is clean and fuel-free. Moreover, wind is
indigenous and enough wind blows across the globe to cope with the
ever increasing electricity demand. This report demonstrates that
wind technology is not a dream for the future – it is real, it is
mature and it can be deployed

on a large scale,” said Arthouros Zervos, GWEC’s Chairman. “The
political choices of the coming years will determine the world’s
environmental and economic situation for many decades to come.”

The global market for wind power has been expanding faster than
any other source of renewable energy. From just 4,800 MW in 1995
the world total has multiplied more than twelve-fold to reach over
59,000 MW by the end of 2005. The international market is expected
to have an annual turnover in 2006 of more than $16 billion, with
an estimated 150,000 people employed around the world (4). The
success of the industry has attracted investors from the mainstream
finance and traditional energy sectors.

Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006 is available in English, French
and Spanish and can be downloaded from:

For more information, please contact:

Jane Kochersperger, Greenpeace Media Officer, (202) 319-2493;
(202) 415-5477 cell

Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Media Officer, + 44 7801
212 960

Angelika Pullen, GWEC Communications Director, +32 473 947

VVPR info: Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006 is available in English, French and Spanish and can be downloaded from:


Notes: Notes to Editors:

(1) Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is the global forum for the wind energy sector, uniting the wind industry and its representative associations. The member associations of GWEC represent more than 1,500 companies, organizations and institutions in more than fifty countries; all of the world’s major wind turbine manufacturers, and ninety-nine percent of the world’s 59,000 MW of installed wind power capacity. For more information on GWEC, go to:

(2) The results show that wind energy can make a major contribution towards satisfying the global need for clean, renewable electricity within the next 30 years and that its penetration in the supply system can be substantially increased if substantive energy efficiency measures are implemented at the same time. Under the reference wind power scenario, wind energy would supply 5 % of the world’s electricity by 2030 and 6.6 percent by 2050. Under the moderate scenario, wind energy’s contribution would range from 15.6 percent in 2030 to 17.7 percent by 2050. Under the advanced scenario, wind energy’s contribution to world electricity demand would range from 29.1 percent in 2030 up to 34.2 percent by 2050. All three scenarios assume that an increasing proportion of new wind power capacity is installed in growing markets such as South America, China, the Pacific and South Asia.

(3) In 2005, the global wind energy sector registered another record year, with a total of 11,531 MW of new capacity installed. This represented a 40.5% increase on an annual basis and a 24% cumulative growth. Wind power is now established as an energy source in over 50 countries around the world. Those with the highest totals in 2005 were Germany (18,428 MW), Spain (10,027 MW), the USA (9,149 MW), India (4,430 MW) and Denmark (3,122 MW). A number of other countries, including Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, China, Japan and Portugal, have reached the 1,000 MW mark.

(4) Employment: The number of jobs created by the wind energy market will range from 480,000 in 2030 under the reference scenario to 1.1 million under the moderate scenario and to 2.1 million under the advanced scenario. Carbon dioxide savings: Savings will range from an annual 535 million tons CO2 in 2030 under the reference scenario to 1,661 million tons under the moderate scenario to 3,100 million tons under the advanced scenario.

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