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Emerging Economies See Wind Growth As Technologies Evolve & Innovate

Emerging economies in the Middle East and Africa will have installed almost 3 GW of wind power by the end of 2014, with more than 58% of that being installed in the last two years.

This is according to new analysis from MAKE, which follows on from recent and numerous additions to its wind power analyses, including an analysis of Europe’s short-term offshore wind expectations.

MAKE concludes in a press release emailed to reporters that the MEA region (Middle East and Africa) will have installed more than 2.9 GW by the end of 2014, with expectations of growth of 145% in capacity over 2013, thanks to strong development in Morocco and South Africa.

South Africa has seen a lot of attention lately, thanks in part to its solar development. In early November, numbers from Wiki-Solar placed South Africa into the top 15 countries for large-scale solar capacity, at 10th globally. A month earlier, the Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index ranked South Africa rising up the index, placed at 16, and above a number of more industrialised European and Asia Pacific countries.

Looking forward ten years, MAKE forecasts a total of 24 GW of new wind power capacity to be commissioned in the MEA region — led by North Africa with 9 GW, the Middle East with 7 GW, and East Africa with 4 GW.

MEA Growth Will Continue

According to MAKE’s numbers, Africa’s total installed power generation capacity is only 70 GW for a population of 1.1 billion. For comparison, China, with a population 1.357 billion, had a 2013 total installed generation capacity of 1247 GW — a figure which is growing dramatically each year, thanks to a tremendous amount of political and sector-wide support.

“The Middle East and Africa are the fastest growing wind power regions in the world,” the MAKE authors write, even though the Middle East — with its terrific wealth of fossil fuel resources and generation — is only sitting on 128 MW of wind energy at the moment (with Iran making up 119 MW of that total). “Considerable potential exists but time is required for the industry to mature.”

As such, MAKE predicts that the Middle East demand for wind energy will grow at a CAGR of 96.5% over the next decade.

Innovation and Evolution in the Wind Sector

Thankfully for emerging economies, wind turbine technology is similarly growing, innovating and evolving to produce more efficient and affordable technology.

A further report from MAKE concluded that the future of offshore wind technology will be defined by innovative growth, with the introduction of 6-10 MW turbines stretching the limits of traditional technologies. Such improvements in turbine output require game-changing technologies to deliver a cost-effective turbine with the necessary reliability to withstand the harsh conditions offshore.

However, whereas the offshore wind technology will be defined by innovation, the onshore segment will become more evolutionary in nature, “as turbine OEMs leverage existing platforms, technologies and cost positions.”

With innovation the hallmark of future offshore wind technology, and rising expansion in the Asia Pacific region, it will not be long before other Southern Hemisphere emerging economies will start turning their attention to offshore to be the dominant wind technology, running in tandem with local solar energy.

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