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Global wind power must gather speed to meet climate goals, report finds

 A wind turbine is seen in Ulcinj, Montenegro.
A wind turbine is seen in Ulcinj, Montenegro.   -   Copyright  Stevo Vasiljevic/REUTERS   -  
By Euronews  with Reuters

Wind power capacity is nowhere near enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet net zero-emission targets, an industry report said on Monday.

Pandemic-related supply chain problems slowed the rollout of new wind power in 2021 with the sector lagging far behind. At the current rates of installation, it is estimated that there will be less than two-thirds of the wind energy capacity required by 2030 to reach net-zero - essentially meaning we would miss global climate goals. 

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) report comes ahead of a UN report set to be published on Monday. Scientists are expected to tell policymakers a huge ramp-up in low carbon technology, such as renewable power, is needed if goals set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement are to be met.

Temperatures are already 1.1C higher than pre-industrial levels and many experts say staying below the 2015 cap is only possible with rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. The report will likely recommend ending the use of fossil fuels within the next eight years. 

“We are not currently on track to meet the objectives of net zero by 2050 or the aims of the Paris Agreement. For wind energy alone, we should be installing four times the current level of annual installations to stay on a net-zero pathway,” Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC said.

Ricardo Rojas/REUTERS
An employee works at the Los Cocos wind farm in Juancho Pedernales.Ricardo Rojas/REUTERS

By the end of 2021, total global wind power capacity was 837 gigawatts the report said, compared with the roughly 3,200 GW needed by 2030.

Some 93.6 gigawatts of wind power capacity were installed globally in 2021, down from a record 95.3 GW the previous year, with many projects slowed by COVID 19-related supply chain issues, the report said. It also added that there needs to be a fourfold increase in new wind energy installations this decade to remain on track for a 1.5C world. 

The world’s top five markets in 2021 for new installations in order of size were China, the United States, Brazil, Vietnam, and Britain. Combined, they made up 75.1 per cent of global installations last year, GWEC said.