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Wind Power on a Steep Growth Curve

Posted on February 13, 2013

Wind power has witnessed spectacular growth in the last decade. To illustrate this growth, on January 30, Bloomberg.com reported that for the first time in any month Spain’s wind power exceeded 6 Terawatt hours, enough energy to light almost all the homes in Spain.

And in the last month the Global Wind Energy Council reported 44.7 Gigawatts of new wind power added to worldwide capacity in 2012, a 19% increase, bringing overall total global capacity to 282.5 Gigawatts. That represents a tenfold increase in wind power capacity over the last decade. What does that capacity mean in terms of a meaningful representation. In 2009, an average household in the United Kingdom used 18,639 Kilowatt hours per year of electricity. That translates to 51 Kilowatt hours per day. At 282.5 Gigawatts total energy generating capacity per day, that means wind currently can light and heat 5.5 million homes today globally. It’s a significant number but still small in the scheme of overall energy capacity. Compare the 5.5 million homes to the 91 million currently in the United States. Or compare 282.5 Gigawatts to total electrical energy capacity from all sources which approached 18,000 Terawatt hours in 2012.

The United States wind power capacity increased to 12.6 Gigawatts of which 5.3 Gigawatts came on stream in December 2012. In my country, Canada, total capacity grew to 6.5 Gigawatts with 1.5 Gigawatts slated to be added in 2013, and an additional 4 Gigawatts planned for installation by 2016.

Read more: Wind Power on a Steep Growth Curve | World Future Society.

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