Big Wind Status

This in from the American Wind Energy Association:

Global wind installations up 22% in 2010, China leads growth

London (Platts)–2Feb2011/547 pm EST/2247 GMT

Global wind power capacity increased by 22.5% in 2010 with 35.8 GW of new installations built, taking the total worldwide to 194.5 GW at end-2010 from 158.7 GW a year earlier, according to figures published Wednesday by the Global Wind Energy Council.

A total of $65 billion (Eur47.3 billion) was invested in the sector worldwide, the GWEC said.

But the overall growth rate was lower than the previous year for the first time in 20 years. In 2009, 38.6 GW was installed.

GWEC noted that more than half of the new capacity built in 2010 came outside the traditional wind markets of Europe and North America, with China and other Asian nations witnessing a boom.

China alone added 16.5 GW, almost have the total new capacity.

“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,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association.

He said China had now overtaken the US as the world’s leading wind energy producer.

Other emerging markets also saw major expansion, with India adding 2.1 GW, Brazil 326 MW, Mexico 316 MW, and 213 MW installed in the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said this showed wind had moved beyond its “rich country” status, with more growth expected not only in Asia but also Latin America, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. SLUGGISH GROWTH IN EUROPE, US

But more established markets had lagged behind because of a disappointing year in the US, where new installations dropped to just over 5 GW compared with 10 GW in 2009.

GWEC said this was because of a “boom bust” cycle in the US arising from uncertainty over federal support policies.

“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 country,” said American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode.

Europe also saw a slowdown in new installations with 9.9 GW installed in 2010 compared with 10.7 GW in 2009. Still, offshore wind grew 50%, notably in the UK, Belgium and Denmark, and eastern Europe was starting to take off with new developments in Romania, Bulgaria and Poland.

But the European Wind Energy Association warned the EU to make sure the European wind market does not stagnate.

“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 renewable technologies, warned EWEA CEO Christian Kjaer.

–Rachel Morison, rachel_morison@platts.com –Paul Whitehead, paul_whitehead@platts.com

Similar stories appear in Renewable Energy Report. See more information at http://bit.ly/RenewableEnergyReport

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