Clean Power

Published on June 4th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Top Wind Power Countries Per Capita (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

June 4th, 2012 by  

What are the top countries in the world for wind power, per capita? Take a look below!

I’ve been meaning to get to this for awhile, but hopefully that means the data have just gotten better since I first intended to put this together.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) does a great job of summarizing wind power growth and cumulative installed wind power capacity in countries around the world year after year. And we wrote a summary piece on GWEC’s most recent annual report when it came out in February. However, GWEC’s report always looks at these numbers on an absolute basis. While that is very relevant to many discussions, I often want to know what the top countries are per capita, per GDP, and per GWh or TWh of electricity production. So, I’ve gone and figured those things out (not difficult, of course, just requires setting a little time aside from the fast-paced, jam-packed news cycle I’m usually on in order to do so).

This first post in this series looks at newly installed wind power per capita and total cumulative installed wind power per capita. (And, yes, this post and the coming two will be added to our Wind Power resource pages linked/featured on the side of our website.)

–>Update: the Top Wind Power Countries per GDP and Top Wind Power Countries per TWh of Electricity Production posts have now been published.

One limitation of the numbers below is that GWEC doesn’t include wind power figures for all the countries of the world. Nonetheless, it includes all the big ones (when it comes to wind power) and the list is as comprehensive as any I am aware of. One other limitation is that population figures used in the calculations were not from one source nor from one point in time — they were the most recent figures available for each country and were retrieved via Wikipedia. But, even if the population numbers were from the same source and point in time, I think the results and rankings would be more or less the same anyway — the more important figures to have standardized in these calculations are the MW of installed wind power.

Anyway, with those notes aside, here are the top countries in the world for:

  1. Cumulative installed wind power per million people (end of 2011) and
  2. Newly installed wind power per million people (2011)
  3. Followed by GWEC’s charts on the absolute leaders in these categories

Top Countries for Cumulative Installed Wind Power per Million People (End of 2011)

To enlarge, click on the image and then click on it again on the next page.

In case anyone happens to have trouble with images or want more specific figures, the top 20 countries (above) for MW per million people are:

  1. Denmark — 693.14
  2. Spain — 469.28
  3. Portugal — 386.59
  4. Ireland — 355.47
  5. Germany — 355.00
  6. Sweden — 312.79
  7. Canada — 151.22
  8. Greece — 151.01
  9. USA — 149.58
  10. New Zealand — 140.56
  11. Netherlands — 139.10
  12. Austria — 128.24
  13. Italy — 113.29
  14. UK — 105.04
  15. France — 104.06
  16. Belgium — 98.44
  17. Australia — 97.02
  18. Cape Verde — 48.79
  19. China — 46.29
  20. Poland — 41.97

Top Countries for Newly Installed Wind Power per Million People (2011)

To enlarge, click on the image and then click on it again on the next page.

Again, in case you want more detail or can’t view images for some odd reason (it can happen), here are the top 20 for newly installed wind power (in MW) per million people:

  1. Sweden — 80.36
  2. Ireland — 52.09
  3. Cape Verde — 46.76
  4. Canada — 36.39
  5. Portugal — 35.70
  6. Denmark — 31.87
  7. Greece — 28.83
  8. Germany — 25.48
  9. New Zealand — 24.60
  10. Spain — 22.73
  11. USA — 21.71
  12. UK — 20.77
  13. Belgium — 17.53
  14. Italy — 15.98
  15. China — 13.09
  16. France — 12.70
  17. Honduras — 12.16
  18. Poland — 11.32
  19. Australia — 10.21
  20. Austria — 8.63

Top 10 Countries for New and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity (Absolute Numbers)

As you can see by comparing the above charts, the US and China dominate when it comes to absolute MW of wind power (new and total), but they are quite mediocre when installed wind power is compared to population.

Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, and Sweden continue to dominate when it comes to total installed wind power per capita, while the top countries in new installation capacity per capita in 2011 were Sweden, Ireland, Cape Verde(!), Canada, Denmark, Greece, and Germany.

Stay tuned for wind power leaders per GDP and per electricity production — there are some bigger surprises coming.

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.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

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  • Thanks for the graph. I’ll mention that Australia now has over 2 gigawatts of wind capacity. Wind supplied about 5.5% of our peak demand yesterday.

    • i’m already curious about the stats for 2012 as a whole. 😀

      a % of electricity generation post is coming tomorrow or the next day.
      my source does have Australia at 2.224 GW at the end of 2011.

      • I find this page neat because it shows the output for most wind farms in Australia:

        But some wind farms have been left out, such as Hallett 4. I guess the page needs to be updated.

        So with construction this year, we might now have over 2.5 gigawatts of wind in Australia at the moment. But I’m afraid I don’t know the actual figure.

  • Matt

    Great artical, but is there maybe a error in the new/million people for the US.If I use the same population (~314M) as used in the cummlative chart.
    Then new would be 6810/314 = ~21.69 new MW/Mpeople which would place about 8th between Germany and UK. Instead of out the top 20 and somewhere under 1 new MW/MPeople.

    • question

      Definitely an error there. The uncertainty in the PTC is hurting wind in the US but not that badly!

    • WTH? Something very odd. Somehow, just a handful of countries had the calculations flipped — no idea how this could have happened since the table was auto-completed. Other than the US, those countries (from the top 20) were Portugal, New Zealand, Spain, and Austria. The graphic and list above are now updated. Thanks a ton for the catch! I was surprised that the USA wasn’t in the top 20 for that, but didn’t think the table needed double-checked since it should have been the same all the way down. I will make sure to double check everything in the coming posts even if they should have been auto-completed! 😀

  • Bob_Wallace

    Excellent. Thanks.

    • thought i’d surprise you on this one 😀

      got two more coming in the next day or two. 😀

      some interesting stats…

  • Captivation

    At the grocery store, I notice that ingredient lists are becoming more and more detailed. IE – it wasn’t long ago that things like trans fats and saturated fats weren’t really considered part of the ingredients(even though they were in the product).
    So… why not also start to include energy sources as part of the ingredients. I would love to buy a loaf of bread that said…
    Solar…. 25%

    • should be getting there. there’s the WindMade label now, and think some others are popping up to show where energy use came from… but we’re a long way from anything mandatory or ubiquitous. 😀

  • yosh hash

    great article! is there a similar one for solar?

    • i’m thinking to make one, but need to find global data on solar power.

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