Producing increased volumes of wind-generated electricity will attract considerable levels of investment.

The capital cost of producing wind turbines has fallen steadily over the past 20 years as turbine design has been largely concentrated on the three-bladed upwind model with variable speed and pitch blade regulation. Manufacturing techniques have been optimised, and mass production and automation have resulted in economies of scale.

The cost developments in the GWEO scenarios are based on the assumption of a gradually decreasing capital cost per kilowatt of installed capacity, due to increased deployment, which accelerates technological progress and increases economies of scale in manufacturing, which in turn results in lower equipment costs. Since this progress will be faster the more units are produced, the cost of wind turbines is projected to decrease most quickly in the Advanced and least quickly in the Reference scenario.

Production Yinchuan, china

© Nordex

Capital costs per kilowatt of installed capacity are taken as an average of €1,350 per kW in 2009. In the Reference scenario, these costs fall gradually to €1,240 per kW by 2020 and €1,216 by 2030. In the Advanced scenario, costs will fall more rapidly to reach €1,093 per kW in 2030.3

Given the high up-front costs of wind power projects, large investments of predominantly private but also public funds are expected to flow into the growing wind power markets. this investment will directly benefit regional development by creating jobs in manufacturing, transportation, construction, project development and operation and maintenance; providing new revenue sources to local landowners such as a farmers or communities; and increasing the local tax base. the investment value in the future wind energy market envisaged in this scenario has been assessed on an annual basis.

In the reference scenario the annual value of global investment in wind power equipment drops by nearly half from €51.8 billion in 2009 to only €26.6 billion by 2015, and then rises again to reach current levels after 2030.

In the Moderate scenario the annual value of global investment in the wind power industry rises from €53.5 billion in 2010 to €79.1 billion in 2015 and €106.5 billion by 2020. Investment rises rapidly during the next 10 years to reach €166 billion by 2030.

In the Advanced scenario the annual value of global investment rises rapidly from €57.5 billion in 2010 to €109.1 billion by 2015, and peaks at €202 billion in 2030.

Although these figures are large, they should be seen in the context of the total level of investment in the global power industry. During the 1990s, for example, annual investment in the power sector was running at some €158–186 billion each year.

3 All figures are in 2009 €