The global wind industry added a total of 51.3 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2018 according to figures published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Tuesday, a decrease of 3.6% over 2017 but with a slight growth in the offshore wind market.
The Global Wind Energy Council has been drip-feeding us 2018 wind figures for the past few weeks in advance of the upcoming publication of its flagship Global Wind Report report, which is due on April 3. So far the Council has revealed that the Americas installed 11.9 GW of new wind capacity in 2018, 962 megawatts (MW) in Africa & the Middle East, and 24.9 GW in the Asia Pacific region.
On Tuesday, the Global Wind Energy Council published the statistical release of its Global Wind Report revealing that the global wind energy industry installed 51.3 GW of new capacity in 2018, a decrease of 3.6% compared to the 53.2 GW installed in 2017, bringing the planet’s cumulative wind total to 591 GW as of the end of 2018.
“2018 was a positive year for wind in all major markets, with China leading both onshore and offshore growth,” said Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC. “We expect huge growth in Asia through the coming decade and beyond as part of the continuing shift from Europe to Asia as the driving region for wind development. However, government support and policy are key to enabling faster market growth in key regions such as South East Asia.”
Despite the 3.9% decrease in overall capacity increase last year, there were nevertheless bright spots. The offshore wind market grew by 0.5% in 2018, installed 4.49 GW of new capacity compared to 4.47 GW installed in 2017. Further, there was promising growth in developing regions such as Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, which together accounted for 10% (4.8 GW) of all new onshore wind installations in 2018. As of the end of 2018, the offshore wind sector sat at 23 GW, and for the first time, China installed more offshore capacity than any other market, installing 1.8 GW, compared to the UK’s 1.3 GW, and Germany’s 900 MW.
GWEC not only expects that new installations will reach at least 55 GW per year through to 2023, but that offshore wind will become an increasingly important global market. Specifically, if governments remain committed, and projects and investments continue to grow, annual offshore wind installations in Asia could reach 5 GW or more each year, while the US offshore wind market could reach 1 GW by 2022 to 2023.
“Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50 GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55 GW or more to be added each year until 2023,” explained Karin Ohlenforst, Director of Market Intelligence at GWEC. “In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7 to 8 GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.”