Clean Power

Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill


Global Wind Industry to Reach 500 GW by 2017

April 18th, 2012 by  

The global wind industry is set to install more than 46 GW of new wind energy this year and, according to a new five-year industry forecast published today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) at the EWEA 2012 Conference at Bella Center in Copenhagen, total global wind power capacity by the end of 2016 will be just under 500 GW.

The GWEC projects average annual market growth rates of approximately 8 percent for each of the next 5 years, but with a strong 2012 and a big dip in 2013, because of the presumed failure to extend or implement important government incentives and rebates.

Total installation capacity for the 2012 to 2016 period is expected to reach 255 GW.

“For the next five years, annual market growth will be driven primarily by India and Brazil, with significant contributions from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “While the market continues to diversify across all continents, it is at the same time plagued by continued slow economic growth and budget crises in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), as well as the continuing credit crunch.”

Asia Continues Market Leadership

For the second year in a row, the majority of the new installations were outside of the OECD and this is a trend that the GWEC expects will only continue.

Asia continues to be the world’s largest market with many more installations than any other region, and it is expected to install a total of 118 GW between now and 2016. It is projected to surpass Europe as the world leader in cumulative installed capacity sometime during 2013. It is expected to end 2016 with a total of 200 GW of installed capacity, about two-fifths of world capacity.

The Chinese market has stabilised after nearly a decade of double and triple digit growth, and is expected to remain around current levels for the next few years.

India achieved a 3 GW market for the first time last year and is expected to reach 5 GW by 2015.

Following the nuclear disaster of 2011, Japan’s wind industry is being revitalised and is also expected to become a dominant market in the region.

Rest of the World Growing As Well

Stats for the rest of the world are nearly as encouraging as those in Asia. The Latin American market is being supported mainly by Brazil as it makes a name for itself as an established major international market with a strong manufacturing base which could end up supplying a growing regional market, growth that is likely to represent the majority in the region through to 2016.

Due to it’s tough 2020 goals, the European market remains stable and should reveal few surprises. Germany had a strong 2011 and, with the government’s plan to phase out all nuclear installations by 2020, the wind industry is likely to take a good boost. Spain had a disappointing 2011 which is likely to continue into 2010, but Romania, Poland, Turkey, and Sweden have taken up the slack.

Which leaves North America, a market expected to continue growing through 2012 thanks to well over 1,000 MW installed in Canada and Mexico and more than 8 GW currently under construction in the US. North America is expected to end 2016 with just over 100 GW installed.

Source: Global Wind Energy Council
Image Source: Gavin Schaefer

Check out our new 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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Pingback: GWEC in press | | GWECGWEC()

  • Luke

    500 GW is truly a vast amount of power, but I still think, that despite the expiration of government incentives – the continuing rise in cost, the dwindling provable reserves, and the sketchy speculative reserves of the main hydrocarbons will continue to push renewable development higher and higher. I still believe by 2020, we’ll see 1TW of wind power – the number of truly massive (1-15 GW) offshore farms in the planning/concept stages should keep the total installed capacity rising.

    Because oil won’t last much longer. The former VP of Aramco, Sadad I. Al-Husseini said in 2007 that roughly 300 billion barrels of oil in the 1,200 billion barrels of oil reserves worldwide should be reclassified as speculative resources, because they only exist on paper. This leaves 900 billion barrels of oil remaining.

    World oil consumption as of November 2011 is currently 90,000,000 barrels/day. 900 billion barrels / 90 million barrels/day gives 10,000 days of oil left, or 27.4 years. From the date Al-Husseini made that remark in 2007, that makes the year of oil depletion ~2034.

    We seriously need to start building alot faster…

    • Captivation

      I agree that clean energy is going to get cheaper than filthy energy, but my concern is what happens when demand for dirty fuel declines. It seems to me that fossil fuel prices will fall and some countries will be tempted to return to the filth. Thus there needs to be international agreements to isolate those countries in non compliance. The alternative is to witness the burning of every single possible barrel of oil despite clean alternatives. We can’t handle our current levels of CO2. It seems insane to contemplate handling the massive CO2 increases that such a misguided policy would create.

Back to Top ↑