Asia leads the growth in global wind power, which grew
35.8 GW in 2010 bringing total global capacity to 194.4
GW – up 22.5% from 2009, the Global Wind Energy
Council (GWEC) says.
By Renewable Energy Focus staff
Wind power installations in 2010 represented investments
worth €47.3 billion, but the global wind power market
was nonetheless down for the first time in 20 years.
New installations fell 7% compared to 2009, mainly due
to a disappointing year in the US, as well as a slowdown
GWEC says the fall in new wind power installations were
mainly due to a combination of the financial crisis,
low levels of wind turbine orders, a depressed OECD electricity
demand and policy uncertainty in the US.
Unlike previous years, more than half of installations
were outside the traditional markets of Europe and North
Asia in the wind
Asia accounted for 19 GW of new global wind power installations,
driven by China, which installed 16.5 GW.
“China now has 42.3 GW of wind power, and has
surpassed the US in terms of total installed capacity,” says
Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable
Energy Industry Association (CREIA).
“This puts China firmly on a path to reach 200
GW of installed wind power by 2020. At the same time,
China has become the world’s largest producer of
wind energy equipment.”
Developing (wind) world
Other developing countries are also increasing their
wind power capacity. India added 2.1 GW, Brazil 326 MW,
and Mexico installed 316 MW of wind power. North Africa
is also shaping up with 213 MW of installations led by
Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
“Wind is now rapidly expanding beyond the tradition ‘rich
country’ markets, a clear sign of its growing competitiveness,” says
Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General.
“This is a trend we are expecting to see developing
further in the future, not only in Asia. We are also
seeing encouraging sighs in Latin America, especially
Brazil and Mexico, and in both Northern and Sub-Saharan
US dropped 50%
The US saw its annual wind power installations halve
from 10 GW in 2009 to just over 5 GW in 2010.
“Our industry continues to endure a boom-bust
cycle because of the lack of long-term, predictable Federal
policies, in contrast to the permanent entitlements that
fossil fuels have enjoyed for 90 years or more,” says
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association
“Now that we’re competing with natural gas
on cost, we need consistent Federal policies to ensure
we have a diverse portfolio of energy sources in this
Europe slightly down
Europe saw a 7.5% fall in new wind installations to
9.9 GW. Offshore wind however, saw 50% growth in countries
such as the UK, Denmark and Belgium. The European market
was also lifted by new developments in Easter Europe
led by Romania, Bulgaria and Poland.
“These figures are a warning that we cannot take
for granted the continued financing of renewable energy,” says
Christian Kjaer, CEO at the European Wind Energy Association
“Better access to financing is urgently needed,
and the European Union must act without delay to prevent
Europe losing its leadership in wind power and other
Picking up in 2011
GWEC’s Sawyer concludes: “2010 was a tough
year for most industries and wind power was no exception.
2011 will be better. Orders picked up again in the second
half of 2010, and investments in the sector continue