Monday, September 3, 2012

Wind energy industry - current trend facts

Wind energy industry has been rapidly developing in the last few decades. One of the main reasons for this is that wind energy has many advantages such as no pollution, no carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), relatively low upfront costs and long history of use. Wind turbines have been used for more than a century, and the real breakthrough in wind power technologies occurred in the 1940s with the development of three blades structure for wind turbine and the discovery of AC generator.

Even despite these two major breakthroughs wind energy needed few decades to be considered as one of the major energy sources. The second half of the 1970s, characterized by the huge oil crisis switched attention to new energy sources, and wind energy sector was then widely being researched in an attempt to ensure better future energy security.

1970s were period when first wind modern wind turbines were developed, and U.S. wasn't the only country involved in research with countries such as Denmark, Spain and Germany also entering the global wind energy map and further developing wind power technologies.
The Horns Rev offshore wind farm west of Denmark. Offshore installations are getting more and more popular because of steady and powerful winds.
In period between the 1990 to 2010 wind energy sector was the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the world, only to be recently overtaken by solar energy, a renewable energy source that is currently setting the tempo for all other renewable energy sources.

Major energy analysts such as Pike Research believe that global wind energy market is well set for the steady growth in the next ten years. They also believe that China will continue to lead the way as the world's largest wind energy producer, followed by United States.

The latest predictions about the future wind energy output estimate that wind power could account for more than 10% of the world's electrical supply by 2020. This positive outlook is based on three main factors: 1) constant decline in prices of wind turbines, 2) the efficiency of wind power technologies is constantly improving, 3) the climate change impact continues to grow and wind power is considered as one of the main clean energy sources that could reduce our heavy dependence on fossil fuels.

The latest trends in global wind energy industry include building larger wind turbines and moving wind farms offshore (because of more frequent and powerful winds).

China and India are currently two of the world's fastest growing wind energy markets, with China adding more than 16.500 MW of new wind power capacity in 2010 and 2011. The wind energy industry is also looking increasingly good in new energy markets, for instance Latin America energy market where Brazil and Mexico have been rapidly improving their wind power capacity.

The situation in U.S. wind energy market is currently very complex - there is plenty of uncertainty in the air because Congress is yet to prolong the tax credit for wind energy, which is set to expire at the end of this year. There are fears within the U.S. wind energy industry that the failure to prolong wind energy tax credit may lead to serious stagnation and plenty of people losing jobs. These are of course still just speculations, and we'll have to wait for few months more before giving more certain outlook for the future of U.S. wind energy industry.

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