Wind power is an indigenous power source
Widely fluctuating oil and gas commodity prices have impacts on national economies, particularly in developing countries. In contrast to the uncertainties surrounding supplies of conventional fuels, and volatile prices, wind energy is a massive indigenous power source, which is available in virtually every country in the world. There are no fuel costs, no geo-political risk and no supply dependence on imported fuels from politically unstable regions.
The International Energy Agency estimates that energy demand is likely to increase by one third between 2010 and 2035, as the global population increases by 1.7 billion people and the global economy grows by 3.5%/yr.
This sharp increase in world energy demand will require significant investment in new power generating capacity and grid infrastructure to ensure universal energy access.
In OECD countries while energy demand is increasing, the days of overcapacity in electricity production are coming to an end. Many old (coal, gas, oil or nuclear) power plants will soon reach the end of their working lives. The IEA predicts that by 2030, over 1,600 GW of power generation capacity will need to be built in the OECD countries alone, including the replacement of retired plants.
Wind power helps to diversify a country‚Äôs energy portfolio and reduce its dependence on imported fuels and long-term price volatility. According to GWEC estimates, wind power could provide over 2 500 GW of largely indigenous new generation capacity by 2030 globally. Wind power has the potential to contribute to energy security as well as environmental objectives nationally, regionally and globally.
Local generation – No imports
Wind power generation increases the diversity of electricity sources, and through local generation, contributes to both the flexibility and stability of the electricity system.
Every unit of electricity generated by wind power has the potential to displace fossil fuel imports, improving both security of supply and the national balance of payments. This is an issue for almost all countries in the world, outside of the OPEC states, which send trillions of dollars a year out of the country to pay their oil and gas import bills. In a difficult global economic situation the economies of poor countries in Africa, Asia and South America are especially vulnerable to price shocks and price hikes.
Short gestation period
Wind power also has the advantage that it can be deployed faster than most other energy supply technologies; energy demand can be met in a time bound and cost effective manner. Even large offshore wind farms can be installed from start to finish in less than two years. This compares favorably with the much longer timescale for conventional power stations such as nuclear reactors or thermal power plants.