Monday, August 27, 2007

2006 Wind Installations Offset More Than 40 Million Tons of CO2

Environmental Valuation & Cost Benefit Analysis has been on a bit of a roll lately with climate change/energy news. Here's the latest tidbit he brings us:

The 15,200 megawatts of new wind turbines installed worldwide last year will generate enough clean electricity annually to offset the carbon dioxide emissions of 23 average-sized U.S. coal-fired power plants, according to a new Vital Signs Update from the Worldwatch Institute. The 43 million tons of carbon dioxide displaced in 2006 is equivalent to the emissions of 7,200 megawatts of coal-fired power plants, or nearly 8 million passenger cars.

Calculations are based on U.S. data: average capacity factor for new wind power capacity (34%, from American Wind Energy Association); average capacity factor for coal-fired power plants (72%, from North American Electric Reliability Corporation - NERC); average CO2 emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants (0.95 kg/kWh, from U.S. Energy Information Administration); and average coal-fired power plant capacity (318 megawatts, from NERC).

Global wind power capacity increased almost 26 percent in 2006, exceeding 74,200 megawatts by year’s end. Global investment in wind power was roughly $22 billion in 2006, and in Europe and North America, the power industry added more capacity in wind than it did in coal and nuclear combined. The global market for wind equipment has risen 74 percent in the past two years, leading to long backorders for wind turbine equipment in much of the world.... More at EV & C-BA

Update: I was just told that EV & C-BA may have their spam filter set a bit tight. If you want to follow the above link click on their bypass.

For perspective Duke Energy's base capacity is ~37,000 megawatts, so worldwide wind generating capacity is equal to two American utility companies.