Technology Roadmap: Wind Energy

Technology Roadmap: Wind Energy
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Edition: 2009
52 pages

Release Date: 2009


Additionally to its role within the portfolio of energy technologies to mitigate energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, wind power provides additional benefits such as pollution reduction, enhanced security of energy supply and economic growth. The objective of the Wind Roadmap is to identify actions to encourage the rapid, enhanced research, design, development and deployment on wind power, both on land and offshore.

The roadmap has been compiled with inputs from a wide range of stakeholders in the wind industry and the wider power sector, power system operators, research and development (R&D) institutions, finance, and government institutions. Two workshops were held to identify technological and deployment issues.

Key Findings

  • The ETP 2008 BLUE scenario sees 12% of global electricity from wind energy by 2050. 2 000 GW of capacity would annually avoid the emission of 2.8 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. In the recently developed High Renewables scenario, penetration reaches 23% by 2050.
  • Achieving the ETP 2008 BLUE scenario targets requires investment of some USD 3.2 trillion. 47 GW would need to be installed on average every year for the next 40 years – a 75% increase – amounting to USD 81 billion/yr.
  • In 2030, non-OECD economies will produce some 17% of global wind energy, rising to 57% in 2050.
  • Wind power can be competitive today where the resource is strong and when the cost of carbon is reflected in markets. Costs per MWh range from USD 70 to USD 130.
  • Costs are expected to decrease further as a result of technology development, deployment and economies of scale – by 23% by 2050. Transitional support is needed to encourage deployment until full competition is achieved.
  • Offshore costs are at present twice those on land, although the quality of the resource can be 50% higher. This roadmap projects cost reductions of 38% by 2050.
  • To reliably achieve high penetrations of wind power, the flexibility of power systems and markets must be enhanced and, eventually, increased. Flexibility is a function of access to flexible generation, storage and demand response, and is enhanced by interconnection, larger and faster power markets, smart grids and forecasting.
  • Intensified R&D is particularly needed in the offshore sector to develop a new generation of turbines and sub-surface structures fundamentally designed for the marine environment with minimum operating and maintenance requirement.

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