Saturday, May 12, 2007

455,000 MW of Wind Power by 2016?

The Danish wind power market analysis firm BTM Consult ApS (BTM) released its latest annual market report in late March. Although the press release on the report notes considerable uncertainty in projections beyond 2011, it also states that its projection would lead to total global cumulative installed wind generating capacity of 455,000 MW by 2016. If that amount of wind capacity were installed in the U.S., it could be expected to generate roughly 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year (my estimate), or 25% or more of total U.S. electricity supply.

Other information from the release:

  • BTM's forecast through 2011 predicts an annual average growth rate for the global wind industry of 17.4% annually.

  • "2006 recorded the highest installation of wind power ever - 15,016 MW of new capacity, 30% above 2005!" (15,016 MW of wind in the U.S. is enough to supply as much electricity as 4 million homes, with 11 million people, consume [my estimate--I say "in the U.S." because wind turbine performance is lower on average in Europe because of lower average wind speeds there]).

  • Global wind capacity at the end of 2006 totaled some 74,300 MW.

  • "The market value of the industry over the next five years will total some US$186.4 billion."

  • Wind power's strong global growth is being driven by concerns about 1) energy supply and 2) global warming.


    Update 13 May 2007: This compares with a World Energy Council estimate in the late 1990s that wind capacity could grow to 180,000 MW to 474,000 MW worldwide by 2020. BTM Consult's latest numbers, while tentative, are somewhat more expansive.
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