For the 5th year in a row, China has doubled its installed wind power capacity. Wind power capacity in the world grew 31% in 2009.
The Global Wind Energy Council released a report on new global wind power statistics this week and these are some of its main findings.
In total, 37.5 GW of wind power were added in 2009, bringing total worldwide installations up to 157.9 GW. One third of these new installations were in China.
The US, despite projections that wind power would drop due to the recession, continued to see growth and remains on top in total installed capacity (but who knows for how long).
“The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install. Wind power has become the power technology of choice [for] a growing number of countries around the world,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General. “Copenhagen didn’t bring us any closer to a global price on carbon, but wind energy continued to grow due to national energy policy in our main markets and also because many governments in [sic] prioritised renewable energy development in their economic recovery plans.”
The global market for wind turbine installations was worth about $63 billion (€45 billion) in 2009 and employs about half a million people now, GWEC estimates.
Top Countries in 2009
1) US: 35.2 GW of installed capacity (up from 25.2 GW in 2008)
2) Germany: 25.8 GW of installed capacity (up from 23.9 GW in 2008)
3) China: 25.1 GW of installed capacity (up from 12.1 GW in 2008)
4) Spain: 19.1 GW of installed capacity (up from 16.7 GW in 2008)
5) India: 10.9 GW of installed capacity (up from 9.7 GW in 2008)
For a full table, by continent or region and country, of installed wind power capacity in 2008 and in 2009 (and the growth in 2009, so you don’t have to do the calculations), as well as other charts and graphs, click here.
As discussed in several recent posts, China is looking to sprint ahead in the new clean energy race that is expected to determine who leads the world economy, even if it is not willing to commit to much internationally — or maybe that is part of its plan.
Here again, we see evidence of China’s commitment to become a (if not the) world leader in clean energy.
“The Chinese government is taking very seriously its responsibility to limit CO2 emissions while providing energy for its growing economy. China is putting strong efforts into developing the country’s tremendous wind resource. Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that the [sic] even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.
China looks to nail its target way ahead of schedule. Will the US and others do the same?
The US is still on top with total installed wind capacity. It saw growth in wind power despite the great economic recession. Will that continue?
“Against all expectations, the US wind energy market installed nearly 10 GW in 2009, increasing the country’s installed capacity by 39% and bringing the total installed, grid-connected capacity to 35 GW. In early 2009, some analysts had foreseen a drop in wind power development of as much as 50%, but the implementation of the US Recovery Act with its strong focus on wind energy development in the summer reversed this trend.
“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode (emphasis mine). “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow.”
Europe saw better than expected growth in wind as well. 10.5 GW of wind power capacity were installed in 2009. Spain led with 2.5 GW, then Germany with 1.9 GW, and then Italy, France and the UK all added more than 1 GW as well.
“It is a remarkable result in a difficult year,” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association. “The figures, once again, confirm that wind power, together with other renewable energy technologies and a shift from coal to gas, are delivering massive European carbon reductions, while creating much needed economic activity and new jobs for Europe’s citizens.”
As in the US recently as well, wind was the fastest growing source of clean energy (or energy at all) in Europe in 2009. 39% of new power capacity was from wind in 2009, compared to 26% from gas and 16% from solar photovoltaics. Coal and nuclear capacity were decommissioned more than they were installed.
Wind is Up, CO2 Down
“Wind energy is already making a significant contribution to saving CO2 emissions. The 158GW of global wind capacity in place at the end of 2009 will produce 340 TWh of clean electricity and save 204 million tons of CO2 every year,” concluded Steve Sawyer. “As we see in Europe and the US, wind power is now often the most attractive option for new power generation, both in economic and environmental terms, and for improved supply security.”
Wind is on the rise. What will we see in 2010? If it’s anything like last year, current projections are unlikely to tell us.
Image Credit: Evan McKern via flickr under a CC license
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.