The Asia Pacific region installed a total of 24.9 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind in 2018, according to figures released Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council, bringing the region’s cumulative capacity up to an impressive 256 GW.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) also expects the region to continue its wind energy surge, with an expected 145 GW of new onshore capacity to be brought online by 2023.
The new figures, published Tuesday, are part of the Council’s ramp-up towards the publication of its Global Wind Report, which will be released on April 3, and follows on the heels of figures published for the Americas — which saw a total of 11.9 GW of new onshore capacity in 2018 — and the Africa and Middle East region — which saw a total of 962 megawatts (MW).
The latest data released highlights the world’s most dominant renewable energy region, the Asia Pacific region, led unsurprisingly by China which installed an impressive 21.2 GW of new onshore wind capacity in 2018 — the most onshore wind installed by a single country in 2018. This brings China’s cumulative onshore wind capacity up to 206 GW. China’s lead over its next rival is unparalleled, with India coming in next having installed only 2.2 GW for the year and bringing its cumulative capacity up to 35 GW. In third place, highlighting the technology’s nascent power, is Australia, which installed 549 MW, bringing its total capacity up to 5.4 GW.
“Asia-Pacific is the leading growth market for the global wind industry,” said Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC. “Aside from the largest markets in China, India, and Australia, GWEC expects positive developments in South-East Asia with onshore wind representing a cost-competitive choice for markets with growing energy demand.”
I also reached out to the Council to understand what they expect Australia’s onshore wind market to do over the coming years. “GWEC expects about 5 GW of new capacity to be installed in Australia between 2019 and 2023. It is important to note that the Australian market is driven by economics – the wind market is performing strongly in Australia and is very much competitive with other energy sources,” a GWEC spokesperson explained. “The national support tool LRET (Large-scale Renewable Energy Target), which has driven new installations in the past, is expected to drive less capacity after 2020, which will allow wind to prove its cost competitiveness. It is different in India and China, where tenders and national planning are driving capacity.”
While China is far and away the world’s largest renewable energy consumer — highlighted by repeated record years for onshore wind and solar — GWEC nevertheless expects to see other markets developing in the coming years, with auctions progressing in India potentially pushing annual onshore wind capacity installations in the country above 5 GW.
Further, the Global Wind Energy Council is working with key industry stakeholders to increase policy momentum in developing markets such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines, and seeking to educate policymakers on the competitiveness of wind energy when compared to older technologies such as coal.
“Wind markets in South-East Asia offer an opportunity for growth if policy commitments focus on the competitiveness and efficiency that wind energy can offer,” explained Karin Ohlenforst, Director of Market Intelligence at GWEC. “More mature Asian markets like Japan and South Korea will continue to install new onshore capacity growing the onshore market in Asia.”