The world’s total wind power capacity, including both onshore and offshore projects, will triple by 2017, cleantech analyst Pike Research says in a new report. Pike predicts that the capacity for electricity generated from wind will jump from the 194.3 gigawatts (GW) the world saw in 2010 to 562.9 GW as investment in wind power increases by a whopping $56 billion.
Wind power began to take off in 2006 and substantial investment until the global financial crisis hit in late 2008 carried it to 30 percent annual growth until 2010, when it fell sharply. Pike doesn’t see wind power ever reaching the highs of its best-performing years, but forecasts wind power capacity will continue to increase steadily.
Senior analyst Peter Asmus says that despite a less-than-stable market, “this is a dynamic time for innovation.” He acknowledges a potential downside for wind companies, saying “there is also much at stake as the companies push technological limits and take major market risks in an increasingly competitive sector.”
Adding to the competition, Asmus says, is the emergence of China as a global leader in wind technology innovation. Meanwhile, Europe remains on the cutting edge, particularly in the development of offshore wind power. And what of the United States? Asmus says it’s a bit behind, but reports industry optimism as costs for research and development declines.