The renewable energy industry has grown significantly in the last few decades, and today, supplies almost a fifth of total primary energy demand. The contribution of renewables at large, especially wind energy, will continue to rise over the coming years. In 2018, 171 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity, of which 49 GW was from wind energy projects, was added worldwide.
Wind energy now has 564 GW of global installed power generation capacity. Falling costs, political will and social pressure for a more sustainable energy mix to try to mitigate climate change are some of the factors driving the rapid expansion of wind energy. China, the United States of America, Brazil, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom are the leaders in wind energy expansion.
The accelerating changes in the global energy mix make it important for developers and financiers that all energy resources be estimated, classified and reported consistently by countries and businesses at national and international levels. The only comprehensive international standard for that purpose is the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC). The UNFC taxonomy is structured around socio-economic and environmental viability, technical readiness and confidence in estimates of the energy potential.
Wind energy standards for UNFC have recently been developed and are available for public comment. “The wind energy standards are intended to be clear, user-friendly and consistent with UNFC principles” said Markus Klingbeil, Chair of the Wind Energy Sub-group of the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Management (EGRM). “Estimation and classification of wind energy resources are crucial for governments, companies and potential financiers and provide a robust basis for comparison of all energy resources.”
“Growing awareness and interest in wind energy resources has highlighted a need to standardize its classification and reporting” said Frank Denelle, Chair of the EGRM Renewable Energy Working Group. “We hope that the inclusion of wind energy specifications within UNFC will facilitate the appreciation of the potential role wind energy will play in future.”
Consistent reporting of wind energy resources to other forms of energy will aid with policy formulation, national and corporate resources management and provide a comparable basis for financing energy projects.
“As the wind energy sector grows and matures, the UNFC wind energy specifications will prove to be an indispensable tool,” remarked Scott Foster, Director of the UNECE Sustainable Energy Division. “We see growing interest in many countries that want to adopt UNFC for classification and reporting of wind energy resources.”
The public comment period for the UNFC wind energy standards will be open until 21 July 2019.
For more information on UNFC and its application to wind energy visit: https://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html