A major clean energy milestone was reached ahead of its expected timeline, and it’s been 40 years in the making.
The 40-year benchmark used by The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) dates back to the late 1970s when Danish engineers like Henrik Stiesdal — who established the basis for the modern wind turbine — experimented with designs referred to as “The Danish Concept,” and that is the foundation of today’s global wind industry.
Wind energy has been steadily growing for decades — it currently accounts for more than 6% of global electricity — and the GWEC credits recently completed wind power projects in China, the U.S., Europe, and Morocco for bumping the capacity across the 1 terawatt threshold.
Global energy consumption is more than 17 terawatts, with the U.S. accounting for around 16% of that, per the Energy Information Administration. A single terawatt could generate more than one-third of the energy needed to power the entire U.S.
This achievement is great news for both individuals and the environment. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that almost 40% of emissions of all harmful, planet-warming pollution come from burning dirty energy to create the energy we use every day.
Globally, wind energy replaces dirty energy sources like oil, coal, and natural gas and plays a crucial role in decarbonizing the global power system and helping the world achieve net-zero energy goals.
In an announcement of the milestone, the GWEC’s CEO, Ben Backwell, said, “This is an enormous moment for the wind industry, but it is also a moment to celebrate for the whole world. This landmark achievement shows the path to a clean energy future is here.”
While the GWEC is understandably proud, its members have also emphasized the need to keep pushing wind technology forward.
“While this is an immense achievement, it still represents only a small portion of what we must build in the coming years in order to decarbonize our planet,” Jonathan Cole, the GWEC chairman, said in the same announcement.
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