IEA ups wind power target for global electricity by 2050

Oct 25, 2013 by Nancy Owano report
wind power

(Phys.org) —The new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is out with a forecast that wind may generate 18 percent of world electricity by 2050, which is a target higher than the 12 percent estimate posted in its earlier roadmap report in 2009. Wind power currently generates 2.6 percent of the world's electricity. The new report that came out earlier this month titled Technology Roadmap: Wind Energy - 2013 edition, details the advances in technology that make the rise from the current 2.6 percent possible. In this 2050 scenario, it is offshore wind that will drive much of the growth, with lower costs, down 45 percent, helping to boost offshore's share of wind power from about 2 percent now to 6 percent in 2020 and 25 percent in 2050. The report carries a number of key findings, some of which are as follows:

Since 2008, wind power deployment has more than doubled, approaching 300 GW cumulative installed capacities led by China (75 GW), the United States (60 GW) and Germany (31 GW). The report notes that some European countries already draw 15 percent to 30 percent of their electricity from wind power, thanks to improvements in forecasting, increased interconnections, demand-side response and storage. Policy support has been instrumental in stimulating the growth.

At the same time, the geographical pattern of deployment is rapidly changing. Countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) led early wind development, but from 2010 non-OECD countries installed more wind turbines. After 2030, non-OECD countries will have more than 50 percent of global installed capacity. The cost of land-based wind power is close to competitive with other sources of electricity in an increasing set of circumstances. In countries such as Brazil, wind power has prevailed over fossil alternatives in auctions for long-term power purchases, thanks to the hedge it provides against possible future price increases for fossil fuels. The new report says that China will replace Europe as the top wind power producer by 2020 or 2025, with the U.S. ranking third.

On two other notes, wind power is now being deployed in countries with good resources without any dedicated financial incentives. The very technology of wind power continues to improve rapidly, and costs of generation from land-based wind installations continue to fall. Turbines are higher, stronger and lighter, while masts and blades are growing faster than rated capacity. What's more, turbines are capturing lower-speed winds and producing more regular output.

Nonetheless, the IEA points to numerous challenges for the global wind sector going forward. Those challenges include grid integration, funding and overall public acceptance. For offshore wind, the report said, much remains to be done to develop appropriate large-scale systems and to reduce costs.

"To achieve high penetrations of variable without diminishing system reliability, improvements are needed in grid infrastructure and in the flexibility of power systems as well as in the design of markets." said the IEA. The roadmap both names the challenges and proposes a set of actions to overcome them.

The IEA is an autonomous organization that was founded in response to the 1973-1974 oil crisis. Initially, the IEA took on the role of helping countries coordinate a collective response to disruptions in the oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. Since then the IEA has evolved and now considers itself at the heart of global dialogue on energy. The agency provides statistics, analysis and recommendations.

Explore further: Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses

More information: www.iea.org/publications/freep… n/name,43771,en.html

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User comments : 19

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VENDItardE
1 / 5 (18) Oct 25, 2013
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2013
Wind already produces about 20% as much power as nukes do worldwide.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (16) Oct 25, 2013
A characteristic case of selling a swindle. Windmills, in converting wind to electricity, remove energy from moving air, meaning they remove its ability to do what it's supposed to. Wind distributes topsoils, disperses seeds and equalizes air temperature, among other things. Windmills impact this. I have placed many comments pointing it out, but was faced, initially, with individuals, characteristically, denying it but not proving it. Then they simply started not responding at all. And, through it all, insistence on playing up "benefits" without mentioning the far outweighing damaging effects.
Eikka
1 / 5 (12) Oct 25, 2013
Wind already produces about 20% as much power as nukes do worldwide.


Measured in what way?

What you just said is equivalent to comparing a sailboat to a steamboat. One goes 20 knots on a good wind, while the other goes 10 knots regardless of the wind.

If their nominal power is 20% more, then we can estimate they produce about 30% the energy. But accounting for the fact that not all nuclear powerplants run at full power all the time, we may bump that up to maybe 40%.
Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (14) Oct 25, 2013
Julian Penrod:

The wind energy on this planet makes the amount of energy humans need for existing civilization look insignificant. The Solar Constant is over 10,000 times the amount of energy consumed by humans,a nd since wind is driven by sunlight and heat gradients...you can imagine that there is far more energy available from wind than humans will ever need.

Even if our population was 10 times higher, we could probably get by on wind and solar energy. Energy would not be the problem, but things like sewage, toilet paper, and food along with non-recyclable wasstes would be the problem.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (16) Oct 25, 2013
Notice the irrational non reasoning Lurker uses to try to discredit what I said.
Lurker says that the among of wind energy is many, many, many times all the energy needs civilization will ever have.
I said that even a small amount of energy taken from the wind can have devastating effects on maintaining fresh, new topsoil, on [permitting the migrating of plants, on keeping global atmospheric masses mixed and temperatures adequately homogenized.
They are not the same.
Only a small portion of wind energy is devoted to those important acts, but interrupt that small amount and there can be disaster. For that matter, impact those processes only a small emount and it can be catastrophic.
But those seeking to oppose the truth often rely on unrelated even non existent issues or "issues". It's the tendency of the gullible and the malignant to buy doggerel like that which can fight against the truth being more widely accepted.
RealScience
4.7 / 5 (3) Oct 26, 2013
@julian - you are correct that wind is not in inexhaustible resource and that there will be some impact. However we are very far from that point, and could meet the IEA's projection without significant impact.

The wind energy that mixes air masses is the bulk of the wind energy. And most wind-driven distribution of topsoil is detrimental (e.g. great dust bowl of the 1930s, or in northern China today). The thing to worry about would be enough dust fertilizing the oceans, but with plowing we currently have far more dust than before industrial-scale farming, so even that would not be a worry at IEA levels.

However if we were to try to get enough energy for ~10 billion people with first-world lifestyles, your points would start becoming pertinent.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 26, 2013
remove energy from moving air
No it doesnt.
you are correct that wind is not in inexhaustible resource and that there will be some impact.
There is absolutely no impact whatsoever.

"A number of studies have used climate models to study the effect of extremely large wind farms. One study reports simulations that show detectable changes in global climate for very high wind farm usage, on the order of 10% of the world's land area"

-Buildings, highways, farms, cooling towers, all have detectable effects in comparison to the natural cover they replace. Wind farms do not.
Measured in what way?

http://en.wikiped...2010.png

-Do your own research.
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (15) Oct 27, 2013
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

In the dunderhead realm, that passes for eloquence.
VendicarE
4 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2013
"The report notes that some European countries already draw 15 percent to 30 percent of their electricity from wind power" - Article

But the anti-environmental, Denialist Retards claimed that this was impossible.

Maybe it's impossible only if you are living on Planet Retard.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2013
I said that even a small amount of energy taken from the wind can have devastating effects on maintaining fresh, new topsoil

Since wind-caused erosion is a major problem of open farmland (where interstitial trees/hedges have been eliminated) the effect would only be beneficial. And given that we're having a climate problem which essentially means (increasingly) too much energy into the atmosphere -which can heighten severity of storms- any energy we take out is very welcome.

That said: the amount of energy taken from the air by windfarms is so minute that it doesn't really matter.
Eikka
1 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2013
There is absolutely no impact whatsoever.

"A number of studies have used climate models to study the effect of extremely large wind farms. One study reports simulations that show detectable changes in global climate for very high wind farm usage, on the order of 10% of the world's land area"


There is also the unfortunate fact that wind farms don't produce a whole lot of energy on the large scale, so we do have to dedicate significant areas of land, at least more than 10% to get significant amounts of energy out of it.

http://phys.org/n...les.html

research has shown that the generating capacity of very large wind power installations (larger than 100 square kilometers) may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter. Previous estimates, which ignored the turbines' slowing effect on the wind, had put that figure at between 2 and 7 watts per square meter.
Eikka
1 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2013
And given that we're having a climate problem which essentially means (increasingly) too much energy into the atmosphere -which can heighten severity of storms- any energy we take out is very welcome.


The energy is released right back. It doesn't go anywhere. Thermodynamics 101.

And wind turbines create turbulent wakes, which convert wind energy to heat through friction. They essentially make the ground appear "rougher" to the wind, so, larger parts of the atmospheric energy gets dissapated as heat near the ground instead of higher up in the atmosphere where it would more easily escape to space.
Eikka
1 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2013
It's interesting though, that you, antialias, are so intellectually dishonest that you can argue the same question both ways without blinking when it suits your needs.

any energy we take out is very welcome.


In the other article, you refuted the very same idea:

I think you're missing a very basic concept here. It's not like the energy taken from wind gets 'lost to the environment' somehow. Like the wind it is taken from it eventually gets converted to heat - only via a different route.


This is why I don't think very highly of environmentalists - they seem to think that the ends justify the means, that you're allowed to cheat and lie without a trace of self-criticism and doubt as long as you believe you're doing the right thing.

RealScience
not rated yet Oct 28, 2013
@Eikka - the wind energy that is taken out, used, and re-released as heat may be put back into the environment, but only a small portion of that gets reconverted to wind and thus wind farms do have a net effect of removing energy from the wind, which could, as AA said, lower their destructive potential.

And I don't think that environmentalists are more prone to thinking that the end justifies the means than other people are. I have observed that to be a property of extremists of all types, from the right-wingers on protecting the country to left-wingers on the environment to anarchists on liberty. Just look at the tea party trying to hold the budget hostage, or the NSA spying on everyone, for recent non-environmentalist examples.
Eikka
1 / 5 (5) Oct 29, 2013
but only a small portion of that gets reconverted to wind


Wind is made by heat being absorbed into the atmosphere.

Put simply, any heat added will cause air to rise up, and any heat removed will cause air to sink down, so that cool air sinking from above continuously replaces hot air rising from below in a circular fashion, which is where wind comes from.

The heat energy has nowhere to go except being converted to wind, because the greenhouse effect and cloud cover largely traps the heat to the lower atmosphere, preventing it from being radiated out into space directly from the earth's surface.

And I don't think that environmentalists are more prone to thinking that the end justifies the means than other people are. I have observed that to be a property of extremists of all types


You don't have to be an extremist to exhibit the mannerisms, as long as you're sufficiently dishonest as a person and believe you're in the right. It's little white lies all the way
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 29, 2013
@Eikka - You are generally a very perceptive commenter on technical matters so I am surprised at your argument that the re-released heat energy will largely be re-converted to wind. The efficiency of the conversion of low-grade thermal energy to mechanical energy is limited by the laws of thermodynamics. Therefore only a fraction of the energy re-released as thermal energy can become macroscopic mechanical energy such as wind.

(This is also why the power of all the wind on earth (on the rough order of 10^15 W) is far less than the heat input from the sun (on the rough order of 10^17 W)).
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 29, 2013
Regarding:
You don't have to be an extremist to exhibit the mannerisms, as long as you're sufficiently dishonest as a person and believe you're in the right. It's little white lies all the way
.

Extremists of all stripes was merely an example of how thinking that the end justifies the means it is not limited to environmentalists. In my experience it can be produced by any of fear, extremism, righteousness, dishonesty or intellectual laziness (and I am sure that there are other ways). I've seen it in politics, the military, religion, economics, medicine, environmentalism and even in science, so I don't see any point in singling out any group.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Oct 29, 2013
so we do have to dedicate significant areas of land

Google for aerial views of windfarms.E.g. this one:
http://www.thereg...sh_site/
(disregrad the story. It's the best complete top-down view of a windfarm I could find). The windfarm -including access roads- uses up less than 5% of the land it's situated on. If that's still too rich then go off shore.

In the other article, you refuted the very same idea:

The wind energy gets taken out locally. While it's out of the system and used the energy content of the atmosphere drops. Erosion happens in fields - not where the electricity is then reconverted to heat (which is in homes/factories) where it is then reintroduced into the atmosphere. Windfarms act like a buffer system in that regard (like tree foliage for CO2) - not a sink. It drops the baseline but not the balance, which is a very welcome effect. Also it replaces systems that add net energy to the atmosphere (like nuclear or fossil fuel)

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