Clean Power

Published on June 5th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Top Wind Power Countries Relative to Electricity Production (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

June 5th, 2012 by  

Closing out this series (I think), below are the top countries in the world* for wind power capacity relative to electricity production**. In other words, these are the countries that have the most wind power compared to their electricity production.

This post follows posts on top wind power countries per capita and top wind power countries per GDP. All three of these posts will soon be included in the Wind Power resource page we have featured on the side of our website.

While the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) provides an invaluable (in my opinion) annual report on total and new wind power in countries around the world (see GWEC’s most recent annual report or our summary of it), I have often wished I had information and rankings on wind power per capita, per GDP, and relative to total electricity production — hence this series. This last ranking is the most important for me, as it actually shows (better than the others at least) how much of a country’s electricity is coming from wind power. I hope you find it as interesting and useful as I do.

(Note to those who I know will bring this point up: I realize that MW and MWh are two different things, but without comprehensive figures on MWh by country, and with the general assumption that efficiency of installed wind power will be similar around the world, I think this is a very good method for determining the relative prominence of wind power in these countries’ electricity production systems.)

Takeaway Points

A few key points you’ll be able to identify in the charts and lists below are:

  • Cape Verde is a total winner when it comes to wind power per TWh of electricity production. (Note, however, that Cape Verde’s population is just under half a million and it generates a lot less electricity than the other countries on the list. Still, though, this is about leadership in highly important relative terms.)
  • Denmark, as is commonly known, is a leader in wind power as a portion of its electricity system (even if it no longer shows up on the top 10 list for installed wind power in absolute terms). This ranking confirms that leadership.
  • Portugal is not only a world leader in wind power in absolute terms (it was in the top 10 for cumulative installed wind power capacity at the end of 2011), but it is also a leader in wind power relative to total electricity production.
  • Spain, India, Germany, Italy, the UK, and Sweden also do fairly well in both forms of measurement.
  • China is actually doing well in both absolute wind power additions (#1 in 2011, by far) and wind power additions relative to electricity production (#8 in 2011, or #7 if you removed Cape Verde from the list).
  • The US and France, while leaders in absolute wind power capacity, don’t fare so well when that is compared to total electricity production.

But, there’s more to see. On to the rankings (3 sections below):

Top Countries for Total Installed Wind Power (End of 2011) per TWh of Electricity Production

As was the case in new wind power per GDP, Cape Verde steals the show. For this reason, I am presenting two charts below, one with Cape Verde included and one without Cape Verde included, so that you can get a better sense for how the other countries compare. Following the two charts is a list of the top 20 countries (with the specific figures included).

Top wind power countries relative to electricity production. (To enlarge, click on the image and then click on it again on the next page.)

Top wind power countries relative to total electricity production (not including Cape Verde). (To enlarge, click on the image and then click on it again on the next page.)

Top 20 countries for total cumulative installed wind power relative to electricity production (MW of installed wind power per TWh of electricity production):

  1. Cape Verde — 533.33
  2. Denmark — 110.28
  3. Portugal — 73.17
  4. Spain — 72.15
  5. Ireland — 57.63
  6. Germany — 46.80
  7. Greece — 30.62
  8. Italy — 22.59
  9. Netherlands — 20.28
  10. Sweden — 19.11
  11. Honduras — 19.10
  12. India — 17.44
  13. UK — 17.16
  14. Austria — 15.31
  15. Costa Rica — 14.99
  16. Morocco — 14.93
  17. China — 14.83
  18. New Zealand — 14.35
  19. Belgium — 12.80
  20. France — 11.86

The US was #21 at 10.85 MW of wind power per TWh of electricity production.

Top Countries for Newly Installed Wind Power (2011) per TWh of Electricity Production

Again, Cape Verde is such an outlier that I’ve included two charts (one with it and one without it), followed by the top 20 list.

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

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

Top 20 countries for new wind power capacity in 2011 relative to electricity production (MW of wind power per TWh of electricity production):

  1. Cape Verde — 511.11
  2. Honduras — 19.10
  3. Ireland — 8.45
  4. Portugal — 6.76
  5. Greece — 5.85
  6. Sweden — 4.91
  7. Denmark — 4.61
  8. China — 4.19
  9. Spain — 3.50
  10. UK — 3.39
  11. Germany — 3.36
  12. India — 3.27
  13. Italy — 3.19
  14. Poland — 2.77
  15. New Zealand — 2.51
  16. Belgium — 2.28
  17. Dominican Republic — 2.26
  18. Turkey — 2.24
  19. Canada — 2.01
  20. USA — 1.57

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

And, again, here’s GWEC’s charts on the top wind power countries in absolute terms (not relative to electricity production):

*As noted in the preceding posts, while the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) puts together the most comprehensive report on installed wind power by country, it doesn’t include installed wind power details for each of the countries of the world. In particular, countries with little or no installed wind power are not included. Since I used the information provided in GWEC’s annual report for the rankings above, the rankings are not based on a comprehensive examination of wind power per electricity production for all countries of the world. Unfortunately, this might mean that some small countries with small amounts of wind power but also very small amounts of electricity production (that would presumably rank well above) are not on the list — I’m not sure if such countries exist or not, but I would guess that there are some, perhaps even some that would give Cape Verde a run for its money!

**Source of electricity production figures (retrieved June 4).

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: 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 companies and feels like they are good companies to invest in.

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  • Suprschool

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  • Angelo

    Hi Zachary,

    Interesting report with only one glaring problem.

    Ratios are funny things. It is pretty obvious that Cape Verde is an outlier and I am curious if you have ever lived even for a week in Cape Verde. If you have ever lived here, you would find your results for Cape Verde to be quite ridiculous. The ratio of wind power per TWh for Cape Verde is nonsensically high for two simple reasons:

    1) There is a lot of POTENTIAL wind power but they can barely even inject it into the grid without bringing down the system. What’s the point of all the wind energy if it cannot be tapped.

    2) There is very little electricity produced in Cape Verde because: the cost of fuel to power the generators is extremely high and the government does not have the money to pay for all of the fuel needed; the electricity system is not properly maintained so there are often equipment failures; it is a relatively poor country and the people cannot afford much electricity – even so, the government-owned electric utility cannot keep up with the meagre demand; the electric utility is owed a lot of money by the consumers so the utility can barely afford to meet demand!

    So in practice, if you lived in Cape Verde, you would know that there is a lot of untapped potential wind power that is simply going to waste while the average resident experiences major blackouts that last from hours to days on an almost weekly basis. So they would look at your statistic and just laugh because it means almost nothing to them in terms of quality of life.

    The best analogy I could think of was this: Let’s say most people receive a 1% annual salary increase. But my salary increased by 10,000% because last year I made $1/month…and this year I’m making $101/month. Wow! I must be 10,000 times richer than everyone else, right? Exactly…it’s a ridiculous assertion to say that I am a total winner in the world based on salary.

    A Cape Verdean Resident

    • I did exclude Cape Verde from numerous charts because it’s such an odd outlier.

  • JamesNCleveland
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