Wind energy scores record gains in 2015
The numbers from 2015 continue to roll in, adding to 2015’s status as a stellar year for composites as an enabling technology in the energy market.
The numbers from 2015 continue to roll in, adding to 2015’s status as a stellar year for composites as an enabling technology in the energy market. Denmark reportedly set a world’s record for energy generation from alternative resources in 2015, using wind turbines to generate 42% of the country’s electricity. In 2014, the figure was 39% — also a world record, that according to Energinet/DK, a non-profit enterprise owned by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. Energinet/ DK also reported that, at times, its wind farms produce a surplus of energy that can be sold to consumers in Norway, Sweden and Germany.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that wind farms in Scotland, while not able to put the UK as a whole in front of Denmark in terms of total wind energy production, neverthless generated enough electric power to supply the equivalent of the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish households in 2015 and that its capacity had increased by 16% since 2014.
Overall, the European Union installed a recordbreaking 12.8 GW of wind capacity last year, according to the European Wind Energy Assn. (Brussels, Begium). With that, wind bested hydropower, and is now the EU’s third- largest source of electricity. Wind, in fact, has accounted for one-third of all new electric power-generating installa- tions since 2000 in the EU, says the EWEA.
In the US, the American Wind Energy Assn. (Wash- ington, DC, US) reported that wind accounted for 47% of all new power generation brought online in 2015. The US added a total of 14.468 GW to its installed capacity last year. Wind added more capacity in 2015 than any other energy source, and it was followed by natural gas at 35% and solar at 14% (figures were compiled by SNL Financial LLC, Charlottesville, VA, US, www.snl.com/InteractiveX/Article.aspx?cdid=A-34950800-13103).
AWEA also says the data showed that the state of Texas, once best known as a center of the US oil industry, led the pack. The Texas Reliability Entity region added more capacity from renewable sources than any other region last year, and wind accounted for almost 69% of that total. Wind energy recently supplied 40% of Texas’ entire demand for 17 hours in a row, a new record. At its zenith, wind made up 45% of the state’s energy generation mix. ERCOT, the main grid operator for most of Texas, announced that in 2015, overall, wind was responsible for 11.7% of Texas’ electricity generation. That surpasses nuclear power, to make it the state’s third largest source.
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