Wind energy industry warns: actions not words needed from governments to address energy security and climate crises ahead of COP27

Source: press release, 22 September 2022

illustration: GWEC
illustration: GWEC

A global coalition of 108 leading wind energy companies and associations, representing 81% of installed wind energy worldwide, has challenged governments to take dramatic action to scale up wind and renewable energy in this decade.

If the world is to get on track for 1.5° C-compliant pathway to net zero, annual global wind energy installations must quadruple by 2030 to around 390 GW per year, according to the International Energy Agency, and by 2050, wind energy must generate more than one-third of global electricity, up from 6% today.

But urgent action must be taken to realise this goal and unleash the full potential of wind technology to provide secure, affordable and clean energy for communities across the world.

The Global Wind Energy Manifesto for COP27 warns that while wind energy is one of the most competitive, mature and quickly deployable energy technologies we have today, to thrive it needs large, steady and visible volumes for deployment and a robust global supply chain.

This can only be achieved through clear and practical actions set out in the manifesto, including:

  • Urgently streamline planning and permitting schemes for grid scale renewables projects.
  • Rapidly build out vital grid infrastructure for integration of clean energy and cross-sector decarbonisation.
  • To evolve power markets to both incentivise investment in renewable generation and allow citizens to benefit from the affordable, secure generation provided.

Making it clear that the wind industry stands ready to work together to achieve the required rapid scale-up of wind installations this decade, signatories of the manifesto include the largest companies in the sector such as Iberdrola, Ørsted, EDP Renewables, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, as well as the wind industry associations in China, Brazil, South Africa, Europe, the UK, Australia and more.

The wind industry is already delivering significant growth and benefits to the global energy system on security, cost and climate. In 2021 94 GW of wind energy capacity was added globally producing around 275 TWh of electricity per year – more than the current annual electricity demand in Australia and enough to displace over one-third of the EU’s imports of Russian gas prior to the invasion.

But decisions at COP27 and in the next few years will determine whether the world can leverage wind and renewable energy to get on track for net zero and secure a livable, just and equitable energy transition.

Ben Backwell, GWEC CEO, says, “Wind energy is one of the most competitive, mature and quickly deployable technologies we have today. The industry has decades of experience in delivering clean energy while generating industry and additional jobs. At a time when the need for improved energy security and decarbonised economies has been pulled into sharp focus by global events, the industry stands ready to support government efforts to deliver but needs clear and practical action now to realise this potential.”

“COP27 presents an opportunity for policymakers to come together to deal with these twin crises. The opportunity to draw a line under the unstable and unsecure fossil fuel era is there waiting to be seized by leaders around the world. It is time the world welcomed in the renewables era bringing clean energy and clean jobs with it,” Backwell adds.

Joyce Lee, Chair of the Global Wind Energy Coalition for COP27, says, “Scaling up wind energy is a win-win for people and the planet, delivering lower energy prices, stimulating investment, economic growth and job creation, while helping countries meet their climate targets and supporting secure energy.”

“The tools, technology and know-how are on our side. But policymakers must act now to deliver the secure and clean energy system the world sorely needs. That means urgent action to accelerate renewables, from speeding up permitting of projects to governments providing clear and ambitious timelines on buildout,” Lee continues.