Wind energy growth

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According to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31 per cent in 2009, with an extra 37.5GW bringing total installations up to 157.9GW.

Wind energy is now an important player in the world’s energy markets. The global wind market for turbine installations in 2009 was worth about $63bn (£39.5bn). GWEC estimates that around half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world.

The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10GW of new wind capacity in 2009.

China was the world’s largest market in 2009, more than doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1GW in 2008 to 25.1GW at the end of 2009 with new capacity additions of 13GW.

’Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that even the unofficial target of 150GW will be met well ahead of 2020,’ said Li Junfeng, secretary general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Newly added capacity of 1,270MW in India and some smaller additions in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan make Asia the biggest regional market for wind energy in 2009, with more than 14GW of new capacity.

However, the US continues to have a comfortable lead in terms of total installed capacity. Against all expectations, the US wind energy market installed nearly 10GW in 2009, increasing the country’s installed capacity by 39 per cent and bringing the total installed grid-connected capacity to 35GW.

Europe, which has traditionally been the world’s largest market for wind energy development, continued to see strong growth, also exceeding expectations. In 2009, 10.5GW were installed in Europe, led by Spain (2.5GW) and Germany (1.9GW). Italy, France and the UK all added more than 1GW of new wind capacity each.