GWEC: Paris, 2017, and opportunities for wind power



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The Paris Agreement has officially been ratified by the 55 countries needed to bring it into force. This means there is going to be a global push to reduce global warming to less than 2° C, and ideally below 1.5° C, over the next century. Wind power is going to play a huge part in achieving this goal.

Steve Sawyer is the Secretary General of the Global Wind and Energy Council (GWEC), the international trade association for the wind power industry. Sawyer is aware that wind power is integral to reaching the global warming target but there’s a way to go yet. He says: “Renewables development, led by wind, would need to accelerate to something in line with the GWEC Advanced Scenario, which puts us at penetration of approximately 20 percent of global electricity supply by 2030.”

The GWEC Advanced Scenario is based on ambitious growth rates being maintained through until the end of the decade, and assumes big changes within the electricity sector happen quickly with the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Full decarbonisation needs to be part of the plan to have any hopes of reaching these targets as Sawyer explains: “The economics, energy security and job/industry creation attributes of wind energy may on their own drive us to 20 percent global wind power by 2030, but that seems rather optimistic without a concerted global effort to decarbonise the power sector by 2050, which is the minimum requirement for keeping within the 2° C; and it would have to happen much sooner to get anywhere close to 1.5° C.”