The wind power sector has been somewhat overshadowed by the unprecedented drop in the cost of solar power in recent years. This blog looks to bring wind back into the picture. In certain geographies, this type of renewable energy generation has immense advantages, and thus also innovation opportunities.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) recently released its annual report, and the review of 2016 shows that wind energy has passed significant milestones once again. The sector kept up its double-digit growth pattern over 2016, with a total of 54GW added to global wind energy capacity. China continues to lead the group despite slowing growth of electricity demand, followed by the US, Germany, India, and Brazil. Continued adoption has been accompanied by the reduction of levelized cost, especially in offshore wind. The U.K. saw costs dropping to £97/MWh, which is below the £100/MWh benchmark – three years ahead of the government’s schedule. In addition to supporting wind farm projects through vehicles such as the recently acquired Green Investment Bank, the U.K. government has provided continued support for innovation in the wind sector. This is perhaps best exemplified by the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) allocating £100 million to foster innovation from SMEs and research groups (2011-15).