The worldwide wind energy market has been rebounding strongly from a weak 2010 through the first half of this year, according to the World Wind Energy Association’s (WWEA) first half report for 2011. Some 18,405 megawatts (MW) of wind power came on-line in the first six months of 2011, a 15% year-to-year increase over first half 2010′s 16,000MW, bringing worldwide wind power capacity to 215,000MW as of end June. Worldwide wind capacity rose 9.3% during 2011′s first six months and by 22.9% when compared with the first six months of 2010.
The Top 5
The top five producers of wind power worldwide — China, the USA, Germany, Spain and India — continue to dominate the wind power market, accounting for 74% of global wind power capacity.
China remained the worldwide leader in wind power capacity with approximately 52 gigawatts (GW) installed, and it continued to dominate the worldwide wind power market for new wind turbines through the first six months of 2011. China added a record 8GW of wind power during 2011′s first half, accounting for 43% of worldwide demand. That compares to the 50% of new wind power demand China accounted for in 2010.
The US added 2,252MW of wind power capacity in 1H 2011, some 90% more than it installed in a weak 1H 2010. Canadian wind power capacity also showed strong growth, installing 603MW. Wind power capacity rose most in Ontario, which enacted its ‘Green Energy Act.’
Germany continued to lead the European wind power market, which showed stronger growth in the first six months of 2011 than it did the previous year. Germany installed 766MW of wind power, bringing its total capacity to 27,981MW. Spain installed 484MW, bringing total installed capacity to 21,150MW, Italy installed 460MW to total 6,200MW, France installed 400MW to total 6,060MW, the UK installed 504MW to total 5,707MW, and Portugal installed 260MW to bring its total installed wind power capacity to 3,960MW.
Emerging Wind Power Markets
Venezuela, Honduras and Ethiopia joined the growing list of countries worldwide using wind energy to generate clean, renewable electrical power, bringing the the total number of countries producing wind power to 86. Wind power in the Dominican Republic increased from 0.2MW to 60.2MW with the installation of its first large-scale wind farm.
Emerging markets in Eastern Europe were the fastest growing wind power markets: Romania’s installed wind power capacity rose 10%, Poland’s t rose 22%, Croatia’s 28% and Estonia’s 32%.
Auguring well for the future of renewable energy development in their countries, Ecuador, Malaysia and Uganda enacted feed-in tariffs.
Full-year Outlook for 2011
Additional wind power capacity of 25,500MW is forecast to be installed by year-end 2011, according to the WWEA report, bringing new installations to 43,900 for the year as compared to 37,642MW for all of 2010. Total installed wind power capacity is expected to reach 240,500MW, accounting for nearly 3% of worldwide electricity demand.
“Although the deployment of the wind power worldwide is again speeding up, we still see relatively moderate growth rates, compared with previous years,” commented WWEA Secretary General Stefan Gsänger. “On the one hand, it is very encouraging that new countries are coming up. On the other hand, we need more support on the national as well as on the international level.
“We hope that especially the UN climate change conference in Durban will lead to better frameworks for wind energy mainly in developing countries. Amongst the industrialized countries, we expect that Japan will play an active and positive role in wind power in the foreseeable future and join soon the group of leading wind countries.”
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.