Wind could meet 12% of global power demand by 2020, and up to 22% by 2030, according to a new study by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International. The “Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010” (GWEO 2010) finds that wind power could play a key role in satisfying the world’s increasing power demand while simultaneously achieving major greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The 1000 GW of wind power capacity projected to be installed by 2020 would save as much as 1.5 billion tons of CO2 every year. These reductions would represent 50-75% of the cumulative emissions reductions that industrialized countries committed to in their 2020 Copenhagen pledges. By 2030, a total of 34 billion tons of CO2 would be saved by 2300 GW of wind power capacity.

“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,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the GWEC. “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.”

In addition to environmental benefits, wind energy is becoming a substantial factor in economic development, providing more than 600,000 “green collar” jobs today both in direct and indirect employment. By 2030, the number of jobs is projected to increase to over 3 million.

“In 2010, the 600,000 workers of the wind industry put up a new wind turbine every 30 minutes–one in three of those turbines was erected in China,” said Sven Teske, senior energy expert with Greenpeace International. “By 2030, the market could be three times bigger than today, leading to a €202 billion (~ $280.9 billion) investment. A new turbine every seven minutes–that’s our goal.”

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