Global Wind Energy Installations Grow By 42% In 2014

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Navigant Research has published its 20th edition of the annual World Wind Energy Market Update report, and it shows that worldwide wind power installations grew by 42% in 2014.

The report, which covers developments in the wind energy sector throughout 2014, also highlights the importance of China, Germany, and the United States in the global wind industry’s “remarkable comeback in 2014,” thanks to “policy-driven acceleration of installations.”

Furthermore, countries such as Brazil, Turkey, France, and Canada “also helped sustain a strong foundation for the industry” as it continues to mature, both technologically, financially, and in terms of its general reliability around the world.

“The wind power industry achieved a record year of installations in 2014, setting the stage for steady growth in the coming years,” said Jesse Broehl, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The industry’s development is being bolstered by key established markets and increasingly supported by new and diversified global markets.”

Due to the return to form of the wind industry in the US and Germany, Navigant Research notes that “there was a significant shake-up in the rankings of the world’s top 10 wind turbine suppliers in 2014.” The top 10 looks like this:

  • Vestas V164 Nears Completion and Increases to 8MWVestas
  • Siemens
  • GE Energy
  • Goldwind
  • Enercon
  • Suzlon Group
  • United Power
  • Gamesa
  • Ming Yang
  • Envision

Top 10 Wind Turbine Suppliers, World Markets: 2014 


In terms of demand highlights, 51.2 GW of new wind capacity was installed in 2014, a new total yearly capacity record, bringing the cumulative installed capacity up to 372 GW by the end of the year. Asia now leads as the continent with the most cumulative capacity, hosting 37.3% of all the wind power capacity, 1.5 percentage points above former leader Europe, which accounted for 23.7% of 2014 installations.

Brazil tripled new installations, adding 2.8 GW in 2014, while the leaders saw China install 23.3 GW, Germany with 5.1 GW and the United States with 4.9 GW.

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21 thoughts on “Global Wind Energy Installations Grow By 42% In 2014

  • Yes even in Canada, without government support, wind is getting installed, because it is “cheap” and cost effective, meaning good solid investment and good ROI.
    Yes it is all about the money, that is why FF will go down and RE /clean energy will win out!
    Only thing is some people/place will take longer to learn than others!

    • Yes, onshore wind needs nothing more than “fair play”.

    • But I think that wind should STILL get some incentive. It is not fair that the competitors get to dump toxins & greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

  • It’s starting to look like something. A few more years of 42% year on year increases and it will make more than just dents, then the fossil fuel industry will be cut into pieces slowly but steadily.

    • Five more years at 44% would get the new wind per year rate up to about 300GW per year by 2020.
      Assuming similar growth in other renewables that would get the world up to the sort of level we need complete the FF to renewables transition.

    • No chance for few more years with 40% growth. We won’t install more capacity than we need. Except situation where it makes sense to close perfectly working plants because of wind will get so cheaper than their maintenance.

      • It will depend somewhat on how things go with the accord in Paris this December.
        If the fossil fuel generating plants are made responsible for their residual costs (health and pollution) then that in combination with the fuel cost variability could make them to expensive to keep open. We could see even newer plants being shut down to be replaced with solar and wind since they can be built so quickly and at continuing to reduce costs.
        I’m not saying that this will definitely happen, but there is a possibility.

        • Hmm… have to agree that it’s a possibility. Soon we won’t build new coal mines (very soon), but for some time we won’t close existing ones. But in some time we will start to close older ones. E.g. at 90% of their designed life span or at 70% of their designed life span. There won’t be newer ones, so this number won’t get very far 🙂
          However coal is quite weak – much harder will be to “kill” NG plants. They are theoretically not so dirty and currently cheaper. But from other side. There is no hard preassure to “kill” them, they can just work less and less 🙂 However when one is build there isn’t super big difference between operating it or not so price of wind would have to be super low or… pressure against fracking would have to be much bigger.

          • Are you talking about US coal mines? If so, we’re already closing them.

            Or are you talking about US coal plants? If so, we’ve already closed some and we’re going to be closing a lot more (about 200 total) over the next couple of years.

            Wind, subsidized, is now selling for 2.5 cents (avg) and solar for 5 cents. Both prices are cheaper than NG generation so one should expect wind and solar to cause NG to shut off in order to save fuel costs.

            Even without subsidies wind is cheaper than NG and solar is about the same and rapidly dropping.

            It’s unlikely we’ll tear down any NG plants for a long time. For now they are, at a minimum, our deep backup.

      • New wind is selling for just under 4 cents per kWh. That is an all-in price including cost of wind farm, financing, maintenance, land costs, and owner profits. That is an unsubsidized price.

        Every kWh of electricity we consume from coal plants costs us between 9 and 15 cents per kWh in health and fuel costs. Add on maintenance.

        • I’ll be honest. I don’t believe you. We just heard great story: wind is finally cost competetive with coal power and now you are saying that it’s over 2-4 times cheaper few months later? Need a numbers to believe.

          • That’s OK. And I’ll be glad to back up my claim.

            And I’ll bet what you heard was that new wind is now competitive with electricity from paid off coal plants.

            That’s a common way in which the cost of renewables is misreported. Very common to hear new wind or new solar compared to paid off coal or nuclear.

            OK, here are wind and solar prices with the links so that you can verify the numbers. And prices over years are graphed at the bottom of the page. The graphs come from the same DOE sources.

            Wind = $0.025/kWh average 2013 PPA (subsidized).

            DOE “2013 Wind Technologies Market Report”


            Solar = $0.05/kWh PPAs (subsidized) being signed in the US Southwest. Working backwards through a LCOE calculation extrapolates a cost of about $0.02 higher for the less sunny Northeast.

            Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2013: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”


            PPA prices for wind and solar are lowered about 1.5 cents by PTC (Production Tax Credits). Both wind and solar are eligible for 2.3 cent/kWh tax credits for each kWh produced during their first ten years of operation. Half of 2.3 is 1.15, but getting ones money early has value. That means that the non-subsidized costs of wind are a bit under 4 cents and solar is running 6.5 to 8.5 cents/kWh.


            I’m looking forward to the 2014 wind and solar reports. Eager to see how much more their prices have fallen.

  • For all the noise around the German slowdown of the Energiewende, Germany is still installing a lot of wind, The brakes were all on solar.
    The headline is ambiguous. I first read it as “cumulative total installations grew by 42%”, which would have been shocking. In fact this rate was 16%. It meant “annual installations grew by 42%”, which is true but insignificant, as you can’t judge a trend from one year.

    • Exactly. And on top of that, since 2013 was bit of an anomaly on longer-running trend, relative increase was more just returning to steady growth, year over year.

    • But as far as cumulative installed capacity is concerned, wind grew about 16% in 2014. (372GW total – 51.2GW installed = 320.8GW at end of 2013. 51,2GW / 320.8 = 15.96%). After 10 years of 16% growth, global installed capacity reaches 1,800GW. After 20 years, it reaches 9,126GW. With global electricity production capacity sitting at 5,500GW in 2012, 16% looks very good! Even with a 30% CF average, 2045 could be the year wind could provide 100% of global ENERGY demand.

      Now, by the time 2035 rolls around, there will be significant numbers of wind turbines being retired, but they will be replaced with newer models that have higher capacity factors and higher all-around performance.

      Either way, I agree, the headline on this story is really bad, but it actually obscures an even better story behind it.

      • That will be quite a feat if they do it organically (as opposed to massive government programs due to Global Warming and/or Peak Coal and/or Peak Natural gas occurring). At some point the annual installations would be more than the cumulative installations to this point.

        • A massive program to get fossil fuels out of our lives would be one of the wisest things governments could do. We cannot afford to deal with uncontrolled global warming.

          The US would save 9 to 15 cents per kWh in health and fuel costs alone by getting rid of coal.

          No one is worried about Peak Coal. We should be concerned about limited natural gas supplies but we need to quit using NG long before we run short. We must cut the carbon additions we’re adding to the carbon cycle.

          Someone may have said 20% was the problem point for renewables. A few years back the NREL said more like 35%. What we’re now seeing is that renewables are not likely to require large scale storage additions until well above 50%.

        • Nothing major in the energy sector happens organically. There are just too many stakeholders, too many infrastructure requirements that make sense on a system-level but are not profitable to build for an individual company, too many technical risks, and national security issues that require the government to step in. The private sector is great at generating wealth but it is incapable of setting long-term priorities or capturing non-economic benefits of certain actions.

          • I was incorrectly using organically, since there is currently a tax break of some kind in the US (and probably something similar elsewhere). What I was trying to distinguish was between the current “yes, we should encourage it” in the US, versus a strong planned urgency, something closer to building thousands of airplanes for a war.

          • There is however one big argument on our side. RE is a political indepency – no need to say to Saudis “it’s all right how you treat women and people of other faith”, no need to say to Putin “it’s all right if you start wars agains sovergin countries”, no need to send armies far away to secure energy supplies. Big thing.

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