Asia set for wind energy growth

23 October 2019

Sian Crampsie

Wind energy capacity in Asia could grow from 230 GW to over 2600 GW by 2050, making it a leader in the global wind market, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

According to a new IRENA report, by 2050 Asia could account for more than 50 per cent of all onshore and over 60 per cent of all offshore wind capacity installed globally. China is expected to take the lead in both the onshore and offshore markets, followed by India and South Korea.

IRENA’s report, Future of Wind, indicates that installed global wind power capacity could rise ten-fold reaching over 6000 GW by 2050. By midcentury, wind could cover one third of global power needs and – combined with electrification – deliver a quarter of the energy-related carbon emission reductions needed to meet the Paris climate targets.

To reach this objective, onshore and offshore wind capacity will need to increase four-fold and ten-fold respectively every year compared to today.

“With renewables, it’s possible to achieve a climate-safe future,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Low-cost renewable energy technologies like wind power are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions. Our roadmap for a global energy transformation to 2050 shows that it is technically and economically feasible to ensure a climate-safe, sustainable energy future.

“Unlocking global wind energy potential will be particularly important. In fact, wind energy could be the largest single source of power generation by mid-century under this path. This would not only enable us to meet climate goals, but it would also boost economic growth and create jobs, thereby accelerating sustainable development.”

To scale up installed wind capacity, global annual investment in onshore wind must increase from today $67 billion to 211 billion in 2050. For offshore wind, global average annual investments would need to increase from $19 billion to $100 billion in 2050.

IRENA expects North America to account for 23 per cent of global onshore wind installations by 2050, followed by Europe, with ten per cent.

In the offshore sector, Europe will account for 22 per cent of global installations, followed by North America, with 16 per cent.

Globally, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for onshore wind will continue to fall to 2-3 ¢/kWh by 2050 compared to 6 ¢/kWh in 2018. Costs of offshore wind will drop significantly to 3-7 ¢/kWh by 2050 compared to 13 ¢/kWh in 2018.

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