Global Wind Energy Market Rebounding, Set For “Unspectacular Growth”

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The Global Wind Energy Council recently launched its annual Global Wind Report, predicting at least 47 GW of wind energy installations for 2014, and a return to “steady if unspectacular” growth over the next few years.

“The global market is back on track for 2014,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “A strong Chinese market, recovery in the US and an increasing role for emerging economies in the global market means that after 2014 the market will resume its steady if unspectacular growth, and end up just about doubling total global installations during the five-year period to 2018.”


The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) predict China will lead the market, and the US will see strong recovery over 2014. Record installations in Canada and Brazil will join South Africa’s recent involvement as a global renewable energy leader,

All in all, these latest figures are nothing new, but do add to the growing importance of the wind energy industry as an important player in future discussions.

“Wind is now a mainstream technology, and a central part of electricity market development in an increasing number of countries,” continued Sawyer. “But for the industry to reach its full potential, it is essential that governments get serious about climate change, and soon.”

There are several region-specific highlights worth making. As has already been covered, India’s wind energy capacity is set to double in five years thanks to effective policies already in place.

The report looked at three specific scenarios — the new policies scenario, the moderate scenario, and the advanced scenario. As seen below, China is a leader across the board, but there are some interesting mix-ups throughout the rest of the world, especially if you keep your eyes on OECD Europe and OECD North America.

New Policies






The full report is available for download here (PDF), for all 60 pages of wind energy goodness.

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Joshua S Hill

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.

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6 thoughts on “Global Wind Energy Market Rebounding, Set For “Unspectacular Growth”

  • So really, wind is standing around waiting for the price of coal and natural gas to rise. It seems possible that as the fracking boom in the US runs its course, there may be a significant increase in fossil fuel costs, especially when you consider that you need oil to extract coal and move it around.

    • Fossil fuel projects from well or mine bottom to exhaust stack or tail pipe involve decades for return on investment. Let’s say two decades for fun. Fossil fuel has worked effortlessly to protect that investment. As made evident by the election in the US. We don’t have that kind of time, climate wise. We have maybe one half a decade at present CO2 emissions. This needs to be attached to every cost analysis and discussion regarding renewables. (obviously, my SWAG time frame needs to be checked) Countries not buying our coal, oil and LNG helps renewables deployment here in the US and elsewhere.

      • Agreed the situation in the US is negative, but coal and natural gas are more expensive in most of the world. Servicing these markets will continue to drive down the cost of wind. Cost improvements of 5% here and 10% there do add up over the years, particularly when coal energy content per ton is gradually falling and cost per ton is gradually rising.
        Cheap fracked natural gas is likely a temporary condition that’s localized to the US – everything I’ve read suggests that fracking doesn’t travel well, e.g. the Chinese don’t have enough water to make it work, the Russians’ geology is more challenging, Europe has real environmental regulations.

        • True dat. I’m just trying to emphasize environmental protection and climate change into evaluation, which fossil and nuke always forgets. Cleantechnica had a great post on comparing a windmill spill versus a shale oil train spill.

          China is sitting on the largest shale reserve. It can sit on it for about 25 years, since it and Russia have agreed on a pipeline to be completed soon. Russia’s gas is still conventional. It uses horizontal wells all over the place, but doesn’t need to frack, yet. China might start its shale exploitation, if it chooses. Then there’s Iran – with some of the biggest proved conventional reserves. Man this is getting confusing.

    • Above all else wind is waiting for a carbon price, even a very modest one. Judging by recent election results, wind could be waiting a long time 🙁

      As long as there is no mechanism to correct cost of production for externalities, renewables (and nuclear) will remain costlier than fossil fuels. Most studies now agree that onshore wind is the cheapest source of energy when all costs are factored in, but looking purely at the cost per kWh coal and gas still win.

      • Seems that you’re mixing up the stuff in your fruit bowl.

        It’s important to compare paid off to paid off and new to new. Or at least when comparing paid off to new that one be clear about what they are doing.

        Fact is, new wind is cheaper than new natural gas and extremely cheaper than new coal and nuclear. Plus new coal, in the US, is almost impossible to build.

        Coal plants are being closed down and utilities are going to be shopping for new supply.

        Wind will be signing PPAs for less than 4c/kWh (all the subsidized stuff has been sold, I would guess). Solar will be signing PPAs for 5c/kWh for a couple more years. Those are the cheap buys.

        Natural gas cannot sell a 20 year PPA for that sort of money. There’s no way to predict the cost of NG over many years.

        New nuclear would cost 3+ times more than new wind/solar.

        Most likely utilities will be purchasing wind and solar then using NG to fill in around them while they await cheaper storage.

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