Wind power in recession times

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Debaser82, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. The Global Wind Energy Council announced that the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 GW to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW.

    The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009.

    Asia (+14 GW new capacity in 2009) has become the biggest regional market for wind energy in 2009, while China is taking a lead in new installed capacity:

    A third of the total additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth. China was the world’s largest market in 2009, nearly doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.1 GW at the end of 2009 with new capacity additions of 13GW.

    “Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that the even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

    However, the US continues to have a comfortable lead in terms of total installed capacity.

    Against all expectations, the US wind energy market installed nearly 10 GW in 2009, increasing the country’s installed capacity by 39% and bringing the total installed, grid-connected capacity to 35 GW.

    Europe, which has traditionally been the world’s largest market for wind energy development, continued to see strong growth, also exceeding expectations.

    In 2009, 10.5 GW were installed in Europe, led by Spain (2.5GW) and Germany (1.9 GW). Italy, France and the UK all added more than 1 GW of new wind capacity each.

    How is it possible that the installed wind capacity boomed in during a recession period? According to the New York Times:

    In the US, the growth of wind power was helped by the federal stimulus package that passed a year ago, which extended a tax credit and provided other investment incentives for the industry.

    But the group (ed. American Wind Energy Association) warned that the growth could slow. Much of the wind development in 2009 was caused by momentum from 2008, as huge turbines ordered then were delivered to wind farms. In 2009, the recession idled many manufacturers and new orders weakened, which could portend an installation slowdown this year.

    So, what will happen in 2010? Probably, the lower demand for new installations will have an impact on the growth rate. However, the growth will continue, thanks to the stimulus packages (US) and capacity targets (EU).

    Wind power won’t be the silver bullet technology to secure clean and affordable energy in the future, but I do believe that it is part of the story…
  2. For those that are interesting in the costs of commercial wind power, the last time i checked it cost about 1.5 million dollars for a windmill that generates 1 megawatt of electricity. They say that will power about 1000 homes for a month on average, but it really depends on how much power the house uses. So you can imagine that if every house hold paid 50 bucks per month(not bad since the average household in the US pays between $90 to $150 for the same amount of power), it would take a good 3 years or so to pay off the windmill before profits are even realized. Once paid for though, its all gravy for the next 25 years or so which by then you will have to replace the turbine. Other costs associated are the cost of land, and then operational costs which are minimal (1.4 cents per Kwh i believe or $14 per month per house)

    I think though its probably better for everyone to get their own windmills if they live in windy areas, as the costs are pretty cheap for the small ones which is about $1500 dollars for a 1.5 kw wind turbine(do it yourself installation) which should power pretty much anyones house as long as you dont live in a really big house and use the air-con all day.