The future without coal and gas continues to unfold with little fanfare. Here’s a good look at the global wind market. We sit on a lot of untapped potential for wind farms here on the coast and in the Straits. If we are serious about getting off coal and generating electricity locally, we need to look at our NIMBY aversion to seeing wind turbines. The Dutch, Germans and many other European countries have gotten use to it. We need to get moving and get off coal. Most people don’t realize that over 30% of our electricity for Portland is still generated by coal from Montana. 13% of our Washington State power is coal. PacifiCorp relies on 26 coal-fired boilers scattered over five western states to provide about 60 percent of electricity to customers in six states: Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho according to 2013 data.
The figures for 2015 wind installations are in, and they show two major trends. First, wind capacity continues to be installed at a major rate globally. Second, there are effectively two wind markets: China and the rest of the world.
In 2015, 63.1 GW of wind power capacity was added globally, a 23.2 percent increase from the 51.2 GW installed in 2014. On a cumulative basis, global wind power capacity grew to 434.1 GW in 2015 from 372.3 GW the prior year. That increase is according to the most recent global installation figures compiled in the annual World Wind Energy Market Update 2016 report published by Navigant Research.