Global Wind Power At 234 GW By End Of Year?

According to a new report published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the international market for wind power is expected to add 40 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2011. The study forecasts an annual growth rate of 18.2%, considered a safe assessment when comparing to the 28% cumulative growth over the previous ten years. Last October, we reported that the organization estimates that up to 12% of global energy could come from wind by 2020.

2010 wind power investments were up 31% from 2009, however, GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer notes that 2008 and 2009 were plagued by woes from the financial crisis. Last year, 35.8 GW of wind energy capacity was added, bringing total capacity to 194.4 GW at the end of 2010. If the report is accurate, total capacity will be 234.4 GW at the end of this year. And by 2015, total wind power is approximated to be 450 GW, with a projected growth of 60.5 GW per year.

Wind Farm

image via GE Energy Financial Services

The biggest gains in wind power production have come from China, who, in 2010, accounted for almost half of all global additions in capacity by expanding new available output by 16.5 GW; by 2015, the country may add 20 GW of capacity each year. When factoring in India’s production, in 2010 the Asia market represents the largest region of wind investment in the world.

Europe, with large markets in Spain and Germany, is expected to remain as the second largest region for wind power until 2015, with a projected capacity of 146.1 GW by that year. North America is estimated to bring total capacity to 94.2 GW, with Latin American adding 2 GW by the end of 2015 as well. The full report is available on the organization’s website.

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Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.