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EGEB: New global wind capacity estimates, offshore wind support in New Jersey, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • The Global Wind Energy Council expects 300 new GW of wind capacity in the next five years.
  • Vestas chairman expects the return of wind power subsidies in some countries.
  • There’s broad support for offshore wind development in New Jersey.
  • A look at how EU coal plants may phase out in the future.
  • The Grain Belt Express is in trouble again.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

The Global Wind Energy Council’s Global Wind Report for 2018 foresees steady growth into the next five years, forecasting the addition of 300 GW of new capacity worldwide during that time. That’s an average of 55 GW per year until 2023.

Overall wind capacity installations were down slightly last year with 51.3 GW of new wind energy installed — a 4% decrease from 2017. This number is slightly above IRENA’s findings, which pegged new capacity at 49 GW in 2018.

Nevertheless, new wind capacity has exceeded 50 GW every year since 2014, and the GWEC expects that to continue on the strength of mature markets in Asia, Europe, and North America, and developing wind energy markets like Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Wind Subsidies

Those wind capacity projections could increase if subsidies return to some countries, as Vestas Chairman Bert Nordberg believes. Nordberg told Reuters he expects some governments are feeling the pressure to build more renewable energy capacity, and they’re planning to reinstate wind power subsidies.

Some European countries have moved away from subsidies and into competitive contract tenders. But as the GWEC’s recent report noted, Europe’s onshore wind market saw just 9 new GW installed in 2018, a 32% decrease from the previous year.

Wind costs are often competitive with fossil fuel power in many countries, but a return to subsidies could still increase development and allow governments to hit future renewable goals. Reuters noted Nordberg would not name the countries where reinstated subsidies might be a possibility.

Jersey (Off)Shore

A Monmouth University poll of New Jersey residents found broad support for offshore wind off the Garden State’s coast.

More than three-quarters of state residents (76%) polled were in favor of offshore wind farms, and only 15% of respondents were opposed. Support is high across the board, among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Yet more residents supported offshore wind farms in the past (80% and 84% of respondents in polls taken between 2008 and 2011). Tony MacDonald, director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University, said,

“There is broad, bipartisan agreement that moving forward with offshore wind projects should be a priority.  If New Jersey achieves Gov. Murphy’s ambitious goal of generating 3,500 MW of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, it will put the state on a path to a green energy future.”

Most New Jerseyans (58%) even said they would support offshore wind development if they knew electricity rates would increase, as long as it meant reducing carbon emissions and fossil fuel reliance. The majority of Democrats and Independents were supportive, while only 36% of Republicans felt the same way.

Meanwhile, offshore drilling (30%) and building new nuclear power (26%) were very unpopular. Pollsters interviewed 604 New Jersey adults by telephone, with about half polled via landline and half via cell phone.

Coal Phase-Out

An interesting GIF courtesy of Climate Analytics shows two possible ways for the EU to completely phase out coal use for electricity generation by 2031.

The Regulator Perspective prioritizes shutting down the most carbon intensive plants first. The Market Perspective, prioritizes shutting down the “least valuable plants in terms of revenue generation potential.”

Grain Belt Blues

The last time we checked in on the Grain Belt Express, Missouri regulators had finally cleared the way for the transmission line to bring 4 GW of wind power from Kansas through the Midwest and farther east, into the grid via direct current.

But the setbacks don’t seem to be over. The Associated Press reports a Missouri House panel advanced legislation that would prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire necessary easements for the project. The legislation is intended to act as a block on the transmission line’s recent approval by regulators.

Rep. Dean Plocher (R) chaired the committee which advanced the legislation. Plocher said,

“We’re asking our Missouri farmers and rural areas to give up their land and their rights so that people further east can save on their energy bills? I don’t think that’s good for Missourians.”

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