2012 was another strong year for global wind energy, with cumulative capacity growth reaching 19% lead by China and the US, according to the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) latest figures.
GWEC’s new report shows that while the US had a record year for wind energy, China’s growth was slower due to market consolidation. This meant both nations installed equal wind capacity of just over 13 gigawatts each, claiming joint leadership of the global market.
Steve Sawyer, Secretary General, GWEC said: “While China paused for breath, both the US and European markets had exceptionally strong years. Asia still led global markets, but with North America a close second, and Europe not far behind”.
The report goes on to demonstrate that Indian as well as Chinese installations slowed owing to a lapse in India’s clean energy policy, but the hiatus is thought to be temporary as Asia looks to continue to dominate the global wind markets for 2013.
The US’s surge in wind installations was down to a last minute rush at the end of the year in anticipated expiration of the US Production Tax Credit. Over 8,000 megawatts was added in the last quarter.
GLOBAL WIND GROWTH
Outside of the US and China, many nations also saw solid growth. European markets were led by Germany and theUK, with emerging growth from Italy, Poland, Romania and Sweden.
Brazil headed the Latin American market totalling installed capacity of 2,500 megawatts, and Australia accounted for all new Pacific region installations, reaching a total of 2,584 megawatts.
Other wind market leaders to watch include Canada which experienced steady growth, and Mexico, which doubled its installed wind capacity for the year to 1,370 megawatts.
Now 24 countries across the world have a total installed capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power.
CHINA OR AMERICA?
Amy Davidsen, US Director, The Climate Group, said: “Wind power presents a tremendous opportunity for the US to switch to clean, affordable, reliable power. According to the US Department of Energy, wind could supply as much as 20% of America’s electricity by 2030.
“The recent extension of the production tax credit for wind projects will help ensure that wind capacity continues to grow into 2014. But we need a predictable long-term policy if wind is to reach its full potential in America.”
Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: “A clean energy revolution has been unfolding in China. The last decade has witnessed almost doubling each year of the installation of wind energy in the world’s most populous country. This achievement is made by stronger by clear policy direction and incentives that have beendriving innovation and attracting capital flows.
“And yet we have all seen that challenges remain in order to address the global climate change and energy security. Greater collaboration, cooperation and partnership from both within country and globally will help speed up and scale up the clean revolution; in particular strong partnerships among the major economies, like China and the US.”