Record Wind Power Growth in 2023 Signals Progress Towards Sustainable Energy Future

Wind power industry sets record in 2023, but more growth needed to meet climate goals. Governments must address barriers to accelerate wind power and universal energy access.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Record Wind Power Growth in 2023 Signals Progress Towards Sustainable Energy Future

Record Wind Power Growth in 2023 Signals Progress Towards Sustainable Energy Future

The global wind power industry experienced a record-breaking year in 2023, with 117 gigawatts of new capacity installed, marking a 50% increase from the previous year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council's annual report. This growth is attributed to increased political ambition and commitments made at the COP28 climate conference, where global leaders agreed to triple the amount of renewable energy produced by 2030.

Major policy interventions, such as the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, the European Union's Wind Power Package, and China's Five-Year Plan, have helped drive wind energy to a record capacity of 1 terawatt. China led all countries in new onshore and offshore wind installations, adding 75 gigawatts of the 117-gigawatt total, followed by the United States, Brazil, and Germany.

Despite this progress, the report authors highlight that the current rate of growth is still far short of the tripling target set at COP28. The industry faces challenges such as global inflationary pressures, rising cost of capital, and fragility in the supply chain. The report calls for policymakers to address planning bottlenecks, grid queues, and poorly designed auctions to ramp up project pipelines and delivery.

Why this matters: The record growth in wind energy installations in 2023 demonstrates the world's increasing commitment to sustainable energy solutions and combating climate change. However, the industry must continue to accelerate its growth to meet the ambitious goals set at COP28 and ensure a greener future for all.

The report highlights the need for innovation in the electricity system to integrate intermittent wind energy while maintaining reliability, as well as the development of supply chains to support the accelerating growth of the wind industry globally. Other regions like Africa and the Middle East are also seeing significant growth, with countries like Kenya expanding their wind power capacity.

Ben Backwell, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council, stated, "2023 was a remarkable year for the global wind industry, but we need to see this growth accelerate even further in the coming years to meet our climate goals. Governments must act now to address the barriers holding back the industry and harness the full potential of wind power to advance universal energy access .

Key Takeaways

  • Global wind power capacity grew by 50% in 2023, reaching 1 terawatt.
  • China led new onshore and offshore wind installations, adding 75 GW.
  • Growth still falls short of COP28 target to triple renewable energy by 2030.
  • Challenges include inflation, rising costs, and supply chain fragility.
  • Policymakers must address barriers to accelerate wind power growth and access.