Total wind power capacity would rise to 2,300 gigawatts within the next two decades in the most optimistic scenario of a study released Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace. That's up from just less than 200 GW this year.
Investments in the sector could rise to $280 billion in 2030, up from $71 billion in 2009, the study said. Wind turbines would then save 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year -- roughly equivalent to the European Union's yearly emissions.
"Wind power can make a massive contribution to global electricity production and to decarbonizing the power sector but we need political commitment to make this happen," Steve Sawyer, GWEC's secretary-general, said in a statement. "Wind power technology provides governments with a viable option for truly tackling the challenges of our time and for being part of the energy revolution our planet needs."
The groups said they based their scenario on the fact that the wind power industry regularly outperformed even the most optimistic forecasts.
In 2010, some 600,000 workers in the wind industry built a new wind turbine every 30 minutes, beating all analysts' predictions, said Sven Teske, an energy expert at Greenpeace.
The rapid growth is happening mainly in Asia.
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