Total installed wind capacity in North, Central, and South America increased to 135 gigawatts (GW) in 2018 with the addition of 11.9 GW of new wind capacity, an increase of 12% on 2017, according to new figures published by the Global Wind Energy Council.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released the figures last week, a sneak peek at numbers from its upcoming Global Wind Report, the Council’s annual flagship report which is due for release in April. The pre-publication data shows that North, Central, and South America installed a total of 11.9 GW in 2018, up 12% on 2017, and bringing the region’s cumulative wind energy capacity to 135 GW.
The North American (Canada and the United States) market is obviously one of the most well-known wind energy markets in the world, and in 2018 capacity additions increased by 10.8% compared to 2017. As industry associations around the world are preparing their annual reports, the lack of specific capacity additions is unsurprising, and GWEC instead highlights the growth of the North American offshore wind market which made significant strides in 2018.
“The North American wind market is one of the most mature and competitive in the wind industry,” said Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC. “Many learnings and experiences from the success here can be used in other markets. The rise of corporate procurement during 2018 demonstrates how corporate sourcing can drive demand and volume in other wind markets.
“The development of the wind market in Latin America is very positive too,” Backwell added. “Large scale auctions have again taken place in Brazil, and we expect the first auction in Colombia to be executed this month. Further investments in the supply chain by the leading OEMs Vestas and Nordex in Argentina prove the long-term potential of the market.”
Brazil installed 2 GW of new capacity in 2018, according to GWEC, and auctioned further capacity at world-record prices as low as $22 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Mexico, on the other hand, installed almost 1 GW of new capacity bringing its cumulative capacity up to 5 GW, as the country expects to reach its renewable energy target of 35% by 2024.
“North, Central and South America will make up about 25% of the total new global capacity in 2018,” added Karin Ohlenforst, Director of Market Intelligence at GWEC. “The capacity growth in South America in particular proves how wind is competitive in auction markets.”