Published on April 7th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan13
World Wind Power Capacity & An Idea
April 7th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
One of our readers and I are putting together a comprehensive resource page for all things wind (will do the same for solar power, tidal power, and more eventually as well). As we create each section, I thought I’d post them (or parts of them) here.
The first section we’re tackling is installed wind power capacity around the world. Here’s the main part of that (but have some extra, unique parts to be added soon). Eventually, we’d like this page and others like it to be one-stop shops for everything you might want to know about these technologies. Of course, to make them so, I think it would be helpful if more members of the CleanTechnica community joined in the process. Drop comments below for corrections or additional info and let me know if you want to be even more involved. We want to use the most reliable, accurate, and up-to-date data possible.
Intro on Wind
Yes, you’ve probably noticed, wind is super abundant. Some report that wind in windy locations on or near land can power the world 6 to 15 times over. It is also, arguably, the least-expensive energy source (or just slightly more expensive than geothermal, which has more limited availability) for creating new electricity for the grid, and this is without taking health costs of coal and natural gas into account. Wind is a clear cleantech and energy winner. (Map above via Global Energy Network Institute)
2010 Installed Capacity & Growth Worldwide
Total installed wind power capacity grew 38.3 GW (40%) in 2010, reaching 197 GW of installed capacity. I wrote previously that the wind power market actually slightly declined in 2010 compared to 2009 due to a slowdown in the U.S. market that has resulted from a lack of clear federal support for wind power and a “tight project finance market.” The decline is now minute due to added data on China wind power capacity.
The wind power market in the U.S. and is expected to pick up considerably again this year and total installed capacity is expected to increase significantly again as well. While wind power in the U.S. hit a small bump in 2010, China’s wind power installations increased tremendously during that time. China has now passed up the U.S. as the global leader in total installed wind power capacity.
Wind power capacity has increased dramatically over the years as the wind power market has exploded. And much more is expected from the coming years. Data in the next three sections below come from the Global Wind Energy Council (and yes, these are the updated statistics and graphs from the corrections made by GWEC just this week). (Note: we intend to add links to the data below in a downloadable format shortly.)
Newly Installed Wind Power Capacity Worldwide (in MW)
Clearly, the growth rate for wind power has increased significantly over the years. The past 3-4 years have seen much more newly installed wind power capacity than previous years.
- 2010: 38,265
- 2009: 38,793
- 2008: 26,560
- 2007: 19,866
- 2006: 15,245
- 2005: 11,531
- 2004: 8,207
- 2003: 8,133
- 2002: 7,270
- 2001: 6,500
- 2000: 3,760
- 1999: 3,440
- 1998: 2,520
- 1997: 1,530
- 1996: 1,280
Cumulative Installed Wind Power Capacity Worldwide (in MW)
The trend is quite clear: practically exponential growth in installed wind power capacity in recent years. Even with a “weak” year in wind power growth in 2010, total installed capacity grew considerably.
- 2010: 197,039
- 2009: 158,908
- 2008: 120,291
- 2007: 93,820
- 2006: 74,052
- 2005: 59,091
- 2004: 47,620
- 2003: 39,431
- 2002: 31,100
- 2001: 23,900
- 2000: 17,400
- 1999: 13,600
- 1998: 10,200
- 1997: 7,600
- 1996: 6,100
Top 10 Countries for Cumulate Wind Power and Newly Installed Wind Power Capacity in 2010
As stated above, some of the big news in 2010 was that China installed the most wind power by far, 18,928 MW (49.5% of total new wind power capacity worldwide). It’s investment in wind last year makes a clear statement about who is looking to lead the world into the clean energy economy and dominated the global economy in years to come. Newly installed wind power capacity in China in 2009 was 13 GW, which more than doubled its previous total cumulative installed capacity of 12,104. This accounted for 34.7% of newly installed wind power capacity worldwide and put China at #1 for newly installed capacity. 2010’s growth gives China the most total installed wind power capacity in the world at 44,733 MW (22.7% of world capacity).
The United States installed much less than China but was still second in the world in new installations in 2010 at 5,115 MW (13.4% of newly installed capacity). In 2009, it had installed 9,922 MW of wind power capacity, accounting for 26.5% of newly installed capacity worldwide.
Europe led the world in wind power capacity for awhile (see chart above) and has had steady wind power growth over the past several years. Like the U.S., its growth dipped a little bit in 2010. Europe previously had the most installed wind power capacity of any continent but lost that lead to Asia after providing only in 2010. 6 of the top 10 countries in total installed wind power capacity and newly installed wind power capacity in 2010 were still European countries.
Germany, with a total of 27,214 MW of wind power is the clear leader in Europe today. It, however, was second in newly installed wind power in 2010, installing 1,493 MW. It was 3rd and 5th in the world, respectively.
Spain installed the most wind power in Europe in 2010, 1,516 MW, and is second in total cumulative installed wind power capacity at 20,676 MW. It was 4th in the world in both categories.
6th in total installed wind power capacity (3rd in Europe): 5,797 MW.
8th in newly installed wind power capacity (5th in Europe): 948 MW.
3rd in total installed wind power capacity (4th in Europe): 4,574.
4th in newly installed wind power capacity (3rd in Europe): 1,086 MW.
8rd in total installed wind power capacity (5th in Europe): 5,204 MW.
7th in newly installed wind power capacity (4th in Europe): 962 MW.
Other European Countries
Rounding out Europe for most total installed wind power capacity in 2010 were: 7. Portugal — 3,357 MW (345 MW added in 2010); 8. Netherlands — 2,223 MW (15 MW added in 2010); 9. Sweden — 1,560 MW (603 MW added in 2010, 10th-most in world); 10. Ireland — 1,310 MW (118 MW added in 2010).
Rounding out Europe for most newly installed wind power in 2010 were: 7. Romania –- 437 MW (identified as having high-growth potential by Vestas); 8. Poland –- 382 MW (725 MW total); 9. Belgium 350 MW (563 MW total); 10. Portugal 345 MW (3,357 MW total).
Other than China, the United States, and Europe, there are a couple more countries in worth covering. India and Canada are both in the top 10 worldwide for installed wind power capacity.
India is currently the 5th-largest in the world. It has increased from only 4,000 MW of installed wind power capacity in 2005 to 13,000 MW in 2010. In 2010, it installed 2,139 MW (3rd-most in the world). Like China, it is also looking to increase its wind power capacity tremendously in the coming years.
Canada had the 9th-most cumulative and newly-installed wind power capacity in 2010 (4,009 MW and 690 MW, respectively).
*This page, and every other page in this the resource pages we create, should be thought of as a draft. Each page might contain a mistake, something that needs more explanation, updating with new information, etc. Jump in and help make each version even more useful than the last.
Complete our 2017 CleanTechnica Reader Survey — have your opinions, preferences, and deepest wishes heard.
Check out our 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.