Global wind capacity could rise to 1,500 GW by 2020

On the occasion of the inauguration of the China (Shanghai) International Wind Energy Exhibition and Conference CWEE2011 in Shanghai, the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) has launched the World Wind Energy Report 2010 this week. The analysis shows worldwide wind capacity has reached 197 GW, but could rise to 1,500 GW by 2020.
Global wind capacity could rise to 1,500 GW by 2020

According to the World Wind Energy Report 2010, global capacity reached 196,630 megawatts, 37,642 megawatts of which were added in 2010, slightly less than in 2009.

While wind power showed a growth rate of 23.6 % –the lowest since 2004 and the second lowest of the past decade – WWEA reveals that all the wind turbines installed by the end of 2010 worldwide can generate 430 TWh per annum, more than the total electricity demand of the United Kingdom, the sixth largest economy of the world, and equalling 2.5 % of the global electricity consumption.

The wind sector as a whole had a turnover of €40 billion in 2010 and employed 670,000 people worldwide.

According to the report, there was a major decrease in new installations in North America, with the US losing its number one spot in terms of total capacity to China, which has become the new centre of the international wind industry, adding 18,928 MW in one year, accounting for more than 50 % of the world market for new wind turbines.

Many Western European countries are showing stagnation, whereas there is strong growth in a number of Eastern European countries. Nonetheless, Germany keeps its number one position in Europe with 27,215 MW, followed by Spain with 20,676 MW.

The highest shares of wind power can be found in three European countries: Denmark (21 %), Portugal (18 %) and Spain 16 %).

Asia accounted for the largest share of new installations (54.6 %), followed by Europe (27.0 %) and North America (16.7 %). Latin America (1.2 %) and Africa (0.4 %) still played only a marginal role in new installations, with North Africa still representing the lion’s share of installed capacity. “Wind energy plays hardly a role yet in Subsahara Africa,” says WWEA.

The association expects the nuclear disaster in Japan and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to have a long-term impact on the prospects for wind energy, and calls on governments “to urgently reinforce their wind energy policies”. If achieved, WWEA sees a global capacity of 600 GW as possible by 2015 and more than 1,500,000 MW by 2020.

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