You can expect to see a lot more wind power plants popping up across the U.S. and the rest of the world in the next five years. According to a report by the research and consulting firm Lucintel, the wind turbine market will maintain its significant growth trajectory and is projected reach $96 billion with a total capacity of 568,310 megawatts (568.3 gigawatts) by 2016. Wind power is gaining momentum as interest in renewable energy sources rises from concern for climate change, rising oil prices, and increasing energy demand.
Lucintel notes that wind energy is more expensive than conventional sources, but says research and development over the past decade have greatly reduced wind energy prices, making it more competitive with fossil-fuel energy. The solar photovoltaic (PV) market is estimated to reach $101 billion and the solar thermal market to reach $17 billion by 2016, but according to Lucintel, the return on investment of wind energy about is 9 percent, while the ROI of solar PV and solar thermal are both about 8 percent, giving wind a competitive advantage.
China leads the way on wind energy installations, Lucintel says, projected to grow from 44.7 GW of installed wind power capacity to 230 GW by 2020. That’s in line with reports that China aims to have wind power as the source of 17 percent of its electricity production by 2050.
The U.S. is second in line for new wind energy installations, expected to reach 180 GW by 2020. Portugal, France, Italy, the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands will also steadily add installations over the next five years, Lucintil says.
Growth in the wind turbine market also promises increased demand for composites to make the wind turbine blades. Lucintel projects steady growth for composite consumption in the wind market to reach $5.5 billion by 2016.