Global Wind Day 2023

Global Wind Day, a day to celebrate a unique resource

Iberdrola, a world leader in wind energy, joins, as in every year, the annual celebration of World Wind Day on Thursday 15 June. This day was promoted in 2007 by the European Wind Energy Association to raise awareness and highlight the importance of wind which, in addition to having been a fundamental element in facilitating transport, inspiring different mythologies and changing the topography of the earth, is also an important generator of renewable energy through wind power.

At Iberdrola, we have been pioneers for decades in harnessing the power of the wind.

The wind is a vitally important phenomenon that has been used throughout history in many ways. Its power has inspired mythological tales and has given names to gods. Its existence regulates the Earth's temperature, shapes the relief, enhances biodiversity by dispersing seeds and, in addition, its thrust has become a source of energy, from the time when it pushed sailing ships across the seas to the present day, where it is an energy resource that is becoming more and more important. For this reason, in 2007, the European Wind Energy Association wanted to celebrate the value of this precious commodity by promoting 15 June as Global Wind Day

Wind is a phenomenon that is generated when air warms up, expands and rises until its temperature is equal to that of the surrounding air. The curious thing is that the air is not heated directly by solar radiation but, in a way, absorbs heat from both the ground and water surfaces. The movement of the air, roughly speaking, is from the tropics to the equator and, as it cools, it returns through the upper layers to the tropics. 

At Iberdrola we celebrate Global Wind Day because we believe in its importance as a driver of wind energy, an inexhaustible renewable energy source that can help to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. 

Types of wind

Before celebrating Global Wind Day, it is important to know what we are celebrating. So, the first thing to know is that there are three types of wind, according to the size of its path. They are: 

 Planetary or global winds:

These are caused by the Earth's rotational motion and form a kind of belt at equatorial, subtropical and polar latitudes. Also known as trade winds or westerly winds, they carry an enormous amount of energy. 

 Regional winds:

Winds determined by the distribution of land, relief and tides. 

 Local winds:

This category includes all those winds that are caused by local factors, which are difficult to categorise, and which determine their intensity and periodicity. 

Wind energy and its types 

Wind energy is energy obtained from the wind, more specifically by harnessing the kinetic energy of air currents. This requires the use of wind turbines, imposing structures oriented in the direction of the wind that capture its force and first convert it into mechanical rotational energy and then, thanks to a generator, into electrical energy. This energy is fed through cables to a transformer substation, which in turn transfers it to the distribution networks so that it reaches the end consumer. 

One of the reasons why it was necessary to celebrate Global Wind Day was because wind energy is experiencing an important moment of expansion, with several years of record levels of new capacity commissioned. However, there are two types of wind energy: 

  • Onshore wind: As the name suggests, wind farms are located on land.
  • Offshore wind turbines: These take advantage of the wind that is produced offshore and are divided into those whose structures are fixed and those that are floating.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Evolution of the size of wind turbines [PDF]

Iberdrola, the importance of wind energy

Wind energy covers approximately 5 % of the world's electricity consumption and the International Energy Agency forecasts that it will reach 9 % of the world's electricity demand and more than 20 % of European demand.  

In the case of Iberdrola, it has maintained its pioneering role for two decades, first with onshore wind and now with offshore wind. In the case of the former, it plans to invest €5.9 billion between 2023 and 2025, which will allow it to reach 26 GW installed in 2025. At the end of 2022, the company had 20.78 GW in operation and, of the capacity it has committed to put into operation in the period 2020-2025, 6.5 GW are already installed, under construction or secured. The portfolio of onshore wind energy projects amounts to 15.5 GW. The most relevant are: the Oitis onshore wind complex (Brazil), Chafariz (Brazil), Villarino (Castilla y León) and Port Augusta (Australia). 

And if we look to the sea, offshore wind has established itself as one of the company's most important growth vectors. At the end of 2023, we have 1,793 MW offshore installed and 3,000 MW under construction, which will come into operation before 2027 thanks to significant investment worldwide. The currently operational offshore wind farms are: East Anglia ONE (North Sea), Wikinger (Baltic Sea) and West of Duddon Sands (Irish Sea), while those currently under construction are: Saint Brieuc (French Brittany), Baltic Eagle (Baltic Sea), Vineyard Wind (Massachusetts) and Park City Wind (Connecticut).