6 Countries With Untapped Wind Energy Potential
Whilst it is relatively well known that there are countries with a large installed wind capacity, countries such as China, United States, India or Germany come to mind. However more interestingly, there are a selection of nations with high potential for wind energy yet have little to none installed wind capacity.
This article includes 6 of these countries which have vast wind potential but are yet to harness it. The countries included are Russia, Oman, Somalia, Iceland, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
Russia is the largest county by land in the world. It is made up of 17 million square kilometres and has 38000 kilometres of coastline. This makes Russia a country which has great potential to utilise wind power, and if utilised properly would lead to it being the largest producer of wind energy in the world. However, Russia currently only has an installed capacity of between 11-16 megawatts of wind power, and unless the Russian government encourages more investment into the wind energy sector it could be left an unused resource.
Oman has a great potential for wind energy as average wind speeds of 8.3 metres per second in the windiest parts of the country and a wind energy density of 684 watts per metre cubed put it on par with the high wind levels witnessed in countries in northern Europe which already utilise wind energy. For example, the Netherlands have an average speed of 7.7 metre per second and wind energy density of 518 watts per metre squared. The whole country however only has one installed wind farm at this moment in time, leaving a lot of potential energy to go to waste.
Geographically, Somalia is relatively close to Oman and therefore also has higher than average wind speeds which could be utilised to create energy. The wind in Somalia has a power density of 849 watts per metre squared and an average wind speed of 9 metres per second, which is comparable to that of the UK. However, due to problems within the country such as civil war, economic instability and piracy the government does not prioritise taking up renewable energy as much as they should.
Compared to other countries in this list, Iceland has a very different reason for not making the most of their wind potential. Iceland already has an electricity supply which is 100% renewable thanks to the geothermal and hydraulic stations on the island. Therefore, Iceland does not feel the need to make use of its wind to supply the electricity demand. However, Iceland have some of the highest wind speeds on average and could generate plenty of electricity if they made use of it. The island does have 4 installed turbines however they are mainly for testing in extreme weather conditions.
Kazakhstan is a nation that is constantly looking to increase its investments into renewable energy due to its consistently growing economy. Kazakhstan has some vast open landscape, such as in Steppe, which have high wind speeds which could be exploited. The country does currently have some wind power developments underway however more could be done to make the most of its potential.
Out of all the countries in this list, Vietnam already has the highest installed wind farm capacity, predicted to be 140-180 megawatts. However, Vietnam has 3200 kilometres of coastline which have near perfect conditions for offshore and onshore wind power. Even though Vietnam already has some installed capacity, it only makes up for around 0.4% of the island’s total electricity generation. Therefore more developments need to take place along the coast to exploit the country’s predicted 24-28 gigawatts of potential wind energy.