3 Things You Need to Know about the Wind Industry Right Now
Wind always seems to be playing second fiddle to solar, but the second largest renewable energy source in the world is in a very exciting time. Here are three things you need to know about the industry right now.
20 percent of the U.S. could be wind powered by 2030.
The American Wind Energy Association’s CEO Tom Kiernan recently discussed the future of wind in the U.S. and he painted a very bright picture, especially with 14,000 MW of wind under construction.
“The 14,000 MW is more power than ever before under construction in the U.S,” he said. “What’s more, we are ahead of schedule to reach 20% wind energy by 2030. Onshore wind is already driving job creation and cutting carbon, so there is significant momentum onshore.”
There’s also quite a bit of momentum in the offshore wind industry, bolstered by projects on the East and West coasts. This is all in addition to strong policy support from the government. Kiernan laid out three ways to keep the industry growing.
“First, we have got to create a more stable policy environment for this industry by getting the ITC extended in this lame duck session and for the long term,” he said. “This on-and-off again thing from Washington has got to end. We need a longer term extension to the ITC. Second, we have to keep working with public and private partners to keep driving down costs. And third, keep getting the message out, informing our political leaders and other partners about the benefits of offshore wind.”
Wind is starting to replace oil and coal.
Both in the U.S. and abroad, wind is starting to take hold in the energy sector and kicking other forms of energy to the curb. In Michigan, wind is looking to replace oil.
“A study conducted for Michigan’s Energy Innovation and Business Council said local investment in renewable energy projects—advanced energy storage, biomass, solar and wind—could support nearly 21,000 jobs in Michigan by 2015, and contribute more than $163 million in local and state tax revenues,” reports the Detroit Free Press.
In China, wind giant Vestas just landed another 50 MW deal in China—a country that’s trying to wean itself off coal. Beyond that, it’s just a smart investment.
“We have a strong commitment to wind energy, and we are looking for a long-term trusted partner who can help us achieve a good return on investment,” Ma Fuqiang, president of Hanas—the organization who ordered the panels—said. “That is why we have been partnering with Vestas for the past five years, and we are glad to continue our great collaboration."
The world could hit 2,000 GW of wind by 2030.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace released their 2014 Global Wind Energy Outlook, which has several forecasts for the near future of the wind industry. According to the report, wind could supply up to 17 to 19 percent of global electricity, and create more than 2 million new jobs. It could also reduce CO2 emissions by more than 3 billion tons per year. By 2050, wind power could provide 25 to 30 percent of global electricity supply.
“Wind power has become the least cost option when adding new capacity to the grid in an increasing number of markets, and prices continue to fall,” Steve Sawyer, CEO of GWEC, said. “Given the urgency to cut down CO2 emissions and continued reliance on imported fossil fuels, wind power’s pivotal role in the world’s future energy supply is assured.”
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.