The growth of wind power is taking place against the backdrop of debate



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Steve Sawyer in the Economist Global Energy Conversation

Due to both technology improvements and market forces, wind equipment costs have come down significantly in the past few years. This is making wind farms cost-competitive and allowing them to compete for market share against subsidised incumbents. Offshore wind is, in development terms, where onshore wind was 15 years ago – as it scales up, costs will come down.

The growth of wind power is taking place against the backdrop of a highly publicised and often politicised debate about support for clean energy technologies in the absence of an effective price on carbon, air pollution, water pollution or fresh water consumption – these total about 60 billion USD per year globally, about half of which goes to renewable electricity technologies. In comparison, politicians seem reticent to scale back on the 600 billion USD subsidies (according to the International Energy Agency) that are expected to go to fossil fuels in 2012.