Global Wind Power Capacity Now Greater than Nuclear Energy

By: | March 1st, 2016

Wind Energy vs. Nuclear

Wind Energy vs. Nuclear (Image Courtesy www.gereports.com)

The global race of wind and solar power against nuclear energy as alternatives to fossil fuels entered a new phase in 2015 when total wind power generation capacity reached 432.42 gigawatts (GW) with 63.01 GW added last year. These numbers are tracked and were reported by the Global Wind Energy Council. Global nuclear power generation stood at 382.55 GW according to the World Nuclear Association.

China leads the world in wind energy with a total capacity of 145.10 GW, followed by the United States with 74.47 GW, India at 25.09 GW, and Spain at 23.03 GW.

Wind Energy vs. Nuclear

Wind Energy vs. Nuclear (Image Courtesy www.renewables.gepower.com)

Wind Leads in Capacity, Not Output

Note that the 382.55 GW output for nuclear power is the net generation capacity. For wind turbines, the capacity does not equal output because the wind is intermittent and the plans do not produce 100% energy, 100% of the time. For the 432.4 GW of wind energy capacity installed, the output is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 20% or 86.48 GW.

Clearly, wind power is catching up to nuclear, but there are additional issues like the fact that the lifetime of a nuclear plant is 60 years while that of current wind farms is 20 years. The current assumption of those most in favor of wind energy is that the dangers associated with nuclear technology far outweigh the dangers associated with wind.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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