Climate change has become a major concern in this century. The Paris Agreement sets forth efforts to limit the global temperature rise to “well below” 2 °C in the present century, compared to pre-industrial levels. To realise the climate targets of the Paris Agreement, a complete transition in the global energy landscape is essential. Wind energy has a major role to play in this transition.
To set the world on a pathway towards meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement, energy-related CO₂ emissions would need to be reduced by around 3.5% per year from now until 2050, with continued reduction afterwards. The energy transformation would also boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.5% and total employment by 0.2% globally in 2050. In addition, it would bring broader social and environmental benefits. Scaling up electricity from renewables would be crucial for the decarbonisation of the world’s energy system. To deliver the energy transition at the pace and scale needed would require almost complete decarbonisation of the global electricity sector by 2050.
Wind and solar will lead in future
Wind and solar energy will lead the way in the transformation of the global electricity sector. Wind power would supply more than one-third of total electricity demand by 2050 and is well aligned with energy transformation scenarios of various institutions, clearly highlighting the importance of scaling up the wind power generation share in order to decarbonise the energy system in the next three decades.
The deployment of renewables has accelerated since 2010, reaching record levels and outpacing annual additions of conventional power capacity in many regions. Among all renewable energy technologies, wind energy, after hydropower, has dominated the renewables industry for many decades. At the end of 2018, the global cumulative installed capacity of onshore wind power reached 542 GW, according to IRENA (International Renewable ENergy Agency).
Wind energy in India
The Indian market is structured differently compared to other wind markets in Europe and the US. Siemens-Gamesa is the only European player with meaningful market penetration, with a share of 23.8% in 2018. The market has been almost uniquely dominated by local manufacturers (Suzlon 33.7%, Inox 12.1%). GE is the only other non-Indian producer in the top six suppliers (4.5%) according to statistics by GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
Earlier this year, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a company formed under Government of India for promoting renewable energy and storage in the country, announced the result of reverse auction for the world’s largest renewable-plus-storage power purchase tender. The tender sought a capacity of 1200 MW, with firm supply of 600 MW for six hours daily during peak demand hours on day-ahead on-demand basis. It required a storage capacity (pumped hydro and battery) of at least 3000 MWh. With decreasing cost of storage, wind or solar coupled with storage systems would be reliable in meeting grid demands such as providing base-load power and meeting peak-hour spikes in demand for few hours.
Wind energy sector will create jobs
Shifting to a renewable-powered future creates employment opportunities and potentially allows for retaining existing expertise from the fossil fuel industry, particularly for renewable technology developments such as offshore wind. For instance, the expertise of workers and technicians in building support structures for offshore oil and gas sites could potentially be utilised to build foundations and substations for offshore wind turbines.
Local wind energy industries have the potential to create jobs and develop local manufacturing. Opportunities for domestic value creation can be created at each segment of the value chain, in the form of jobs and income generation for enterprises operating in the country. In the case of domestic industry participation in onshore wind farm development, key aspects such as the labour, materials and equipment requirements of each segment of the value chain need to be analysed. Based on this, opportunities for leveraging local labour markets and existing industries can be identified to maximise the domestic value chain.