Wind Energy's Global Reach
Innovations in alternative energy have radically altered the way electricity is created and consumed, not just within U.S. borders, but around the world, and the global impact of wind energy is not looking at a standstill anytime soon. In fact, Britain hit a major milestone in the first quarter of 2020 seeing renewables as the country’s main power source for the first time ever. Between January and March, renewables generated 35.4TWh of electricity, which is more electricity than gas, coal, nuclear and all other traditional energy sources combined. While this temporary spike is largely due to unseasonably strong winds and low demand due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is a promising glimpse into the potential of the U.K.’s renewable energy future. Already, wind energy contributes the most to the U.K.’s renewable energy profile and produces 20% of the country’s electricity following a series of major wind farms coming online in recent years. One of these farms includes Hornsea One, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which would generate enough electricity to power almost a million homes per month when fully commissioned. Along with various other projects, offshore wind alone, can potentially replace 1/3 of gas use for electricity. Ultimately, offshore wind has the potential to replace ALL gas usage for most of the off-peak usage, allowing solar deployments to offset daytime energy demand.
We live in a world where 13 percent or 940 million people do not have access to electricity. While the potential for wind is inspiring in developed nations, wind energy has even more potential to drastically benefit major infrastructure requirements in non-developed countries. For example, developing countries in Africa are looking to wind energy to boost access to electricity, provide gainful employment for their residents, and increase revenue to poor, undeveloped regions. Last July, Kenya made its commitment to renewable energy clear unveiling the largest wind energy facility in the continent. The Lake Turkana Wind Farm, located 370 miles from the capital, Nairobi, consists of 365 turbines and will produce 310 MW of affordable and reliable energy, enough electricity to power roughly 54,000 homes. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, South Africa will lead the continent in Wind Energy Capacity over the next five years. In South Africa, wind energy is boosting economic development in remote communities, expanding access to education, infrastructure and workforce needs. In fact, South Africa is planning for wind energy to make up 18% of its overall energy mix by 2030. These installations will go a long way in expanding access to electricity in one of the most wanting regions in the world. In the pursuit of energy security, developing nations are looking toward wind energy to bring themselves into the developed world. As wind generated electricity becomes increasingly cheaper, its development has become a saving grace for these countries. Through wind energy, developing countries can grow their economies and, ultimately the livelihood of their residents.
In both the developed and developing countries, wind power is radically changing the global energy landscape. As a result, consumers around the world can access a wide variety of energy sources, creating a more robust mix that is shaping the future of the energy industry. The United Kingdom is one of many countries in Europe that is growing its wind energy capacity and the work done to promote wind capacity in Africa is critical to its development and economic future.
Wind energy is an excellent solution for producing electricity in hard-to-reach places. As the wind development continues to here in Ohio, it is important to note the potential benefits extend globally. Growing wind development in the Ohio can impact the economic and social well being of people around the world. Through continued innovation, U.S. based companies can bring electricity to developing nations in an effort to boost global economic growth.