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Powering the world with wind: just how close are we?
Episode 315th April 2024 • The Clean Energy Revolution • National Grid
00:00:00 00:37:20

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The Global Wind Energy Council forecasts that, with sustained policy support and investment, global wind capacity could reach 2,000 GW by 2030. This would be a significant contribution to net zero goals, so what does this sustained policy support look like? Where does the investment need to go, and where are we seeing innovation in the sector?  

On The Clean Energy Revolution, Carolyn and Laura explore the policy, technological advancements, investment needs, and the pivotal role of international cooperation in developing wind power. 

Laura is in Bilbao at the WindEurope annual conference. WindEurope, formerly the European Wind Energy Association, represents manufacturers, suppliers, utilities, developers and research institutes to develop and advocate for wind power in Europe. Giles Dickson is CEO, and he joins Laura as the conference gets underway. Together they highlight the role of the North Sea as a pivotal energy hub for Europe, as Giles talks about the need for increased cooperation among North Sea bordering countries to maximize the region's wind energy potential. What does the wind sector look like on the East side of the Atlantic? 

Meanwhile, Carolyn is in New York, with Will Hazelip, President of National Grid Ventures for the U.S. Northeast, to discuss the outlook for wind power in the region. Wind power in the US has seen substantial growth in the last two decades; 6 terawatt-hours in 2000 to 434 in 2022. What’s the potential for growth over the next decade, and beyond? Major projects such as South Fork Wind Farm and Vineyard Wind show the scale of ambition in the north-east, and the progress that’s being made to the 30GW target for 2030 set by the Biden administration. Carolyn and Will examine the state cooperation and policy support for offshore wind projects – projects that are perfectly placed to provide New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC with firm, reliable clean energy. 

As of the end of 2022, the UK's offshore wind capacity stood at over 10 GW, contributing significantly to the country's renewable energy mix. The UK government aims to add an extra 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 to meet increasing electricity demands and sustainability goals. Across Europe, the goal is 300 GW by 2030. 

The main talking points to come out of the WindEurope event, as Laura explains, are the complexities of scaling wind energy, the necessity of robust commercial frameworks, the impact of NIMBYism, and the crucial aspect of community engagement in wind projects.

Katie Jackson, President of NGV, and Matt Hinde, Head of European Affairs, also join this episode to explore these key points: the critical need for substantial investment and development in wind energy to meet future electricity demands, the importance of state cooperation and international collaboration to harness wind power effectively, and the significant challenges posed by supply chain issues, regulatory hurdles, and community opposition.





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