The exploitation of wind energy dates thousands of years of history, where societies used wind as solution for many of their daily applications. During the last century, globally electricity needs were covered almost exclusively from fossil-fuel based technologies resulting in a negative impact on the environment. Since 1980, wind energy applications acquired great interest from the global community in order to cope with security of energy supply and environmental issues. This study presents the evolution of wind energy throughout the last 30 years, along with its prospects for covering a considerable percentage of the future global electrical demand. Furthermore, available information concerning the major wind energy markets has been analysed and revealed in general the existing trends of wind energy for the next years to come. In this context, technology and financial aspects along with environmental issues arising from wind power projects’ implementation are investigated in order to provide all the necessary data for acquiring an integrated view of the wind energy future.
Keywords: Economics of Wind Energy, Environmental Impacts, Future Prospects, Historical Review, Life Cycle Energy Intensity, Onshore-Offshore Installations, Rotor Diameter, Wind Energy, Wind Energy Markets, Wind Power Capacity, Wind Technology Improvements.