Rising fossil fuel prices, devastating oil spills and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima have in 2011 substantially raised expectations of wind energy. Every month in 2009 and 2010, the global wind energy industry installed new wind energy capacity that can produce as much electricity as 1.2 average nuclear reactors.
According to the wind industry, in 2015 wind power will avoid €23.7 billion of fuel costs – made up of €15.1 billion of avoided coal costs, €6.4 billion of avoided gas costs and €1.7 billion of avoided oil costs to produce electricity. By 2020 wind power will reduce fuel costs by €87 billion globally – made up of €46 billion of gas costs, €27 billion of coal costs, almost €10 billion of oil costs and €4 billion of biomass costs required to produce electricity.
These figures are based on the International Energy Agency’s data on fuel costs (IEA World Energy Outlook 2010) and Global Wind Energy Council data (GWEC, 2011, Outlook 2010) on ‘moderate’ development of wind power.
Opportunity For Ireland
Ireland is showing real signs of grasping the opportunity for developing smart technologies to facilitate the massive hike in demand for global wind energy over the next decade, says to Dr Michael Walsh, chief executive of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
“There is a unique opportunity for Ireland’s innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new business of a global scale arising from the huge demand for wind energy up to 2020 and beyond.,” he comments. “This is an opportunity for Ireland in terms of wind generation but also in developing the technologies to ensure this capacity is delivered.”
He continues: “As countries all over the world are moving more and more towards wind generation, the market for these services will be immense. Ireland has the technical expertise and the opportunity to lead this new global industry. We also have the perfect combination of small local innovative companies and global technology leaders based in Ireland.”