Wind Power Continues Global Expansion

Pace of Installation Needs to Accelerate to Combat Climate Change

Published: 09-Mar-2005

Brussels, March 4th 2005 --- The global wind power industry installed 7,976 megawatts (MW) in 2004, an increase in total installed generating capacity of 20%, according to figures released today by the Global Wind Energy Council - GWEC (1). Global wind power capacity has grown to 47,317MW.

The countries with the highest total installed wind power capacity are Germany (16,629 MW), Spain (8,263 MW), the United States (6,740 MW), Denmark (3,117 MW) and India (3,000 MW). The top five countries account for over 67% of 2004 installation and nearly 80% of total wind energy installation worldwide. A number of countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, and the UK, are above or near the 1,000-MW mark.

Europe continued to dominate the global market in 2004, accounting for 72.4% of new installations (5,774 MW). Asia had a 15.9% installation share (1,269 MW), followed by North America (6.4%; 512 MW) and the Pacific Region (4.1%; 325 MW). Latin America + the Caribbean (49 MW) and Africa (47 MW) had a 0.6% market share respectively (Annex 3).   "Europe is the global leader in wind energy, but we are witnessing the globalisation of the wind energy markets. In Europe, the market has experienced average annual growth rates of 22% over the past six years; however, the further rapid progress that the industry is capable of delivering is constrained by barriers such as grid access and administrative hurdles", said EWEA President Arthouros Zervos. "Renewed political initiatives by the G8 could boost wind power; the industry is well positioned and ready for a more rapid roll out given the right political signals".

Growth in the U.S. market was predictably slow because of the long delay in extending the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy, which had expired in December 2003 and was extended in October 2004.
Proposed projects are now back on the fast track and AWEA expects that over 2,000 MW will be installed nationwide during 2005.  Uncertainty continues to loom over the U.S. market, however, since the PTC will expire again in December 2005 unless Congress moves quickly to extend the incentive.  The US wind energy industry is calling for a long-term extension so that companies can plan for steadier, stronger growth over the coming years.

"Wind energy technology has bolted out of the starting gate in the U.S. and is delivering clean, safe, inexhaustible power to customers nationwide, but its deployment remains hobbled by the intermittency and uncertainty of the federal incentive for wind and other renewable energy sources," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "For wind energy to contribute a substantially larger share to the nation's electricity, companies need a stable planning horizon, comparable at least to that available for conventional technologies."

"Wind energy capacity in Australia almost doubled in the last 12 months with 380 MW of wind energy capacity installed at the close of 2004. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing clean energy sources because it is proven, quick to build and economically viable", said Ian Lloyd-Besson, President of AusWEA. "Besides being clean and green, wind energy brings investment, drought-proof farming income and jobs to rural communities. Australia has some of the most powerful and abundant untapped wind resource on the planet and a grid capacity that can potentially accommodate up to 8,000 MW of wind energy with minor adjustments. Even if we were to develop just half of this, the regional employment benefits and export opportunities would be enormous."

"2004 was a record year for the Canadian wind energy industry with 122 MW of new installed capacity. It is certain that this record will be shattered in 2005 and recent developments in Federal and Provincial energy policy promise a 10-fold increase in Canada's total installed wind energy capacity over the next five years", said CanWEA President Robert Hornung.

"China's anticipated entry into the global renewable energy market is expected to have a profound impact on the global industry. We have spent a lot of time and energy learning from the successes and failures of our partners in Europe and around the world", said Li Junfeng, Secretary General, CREIA, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

"India has witnessed unprecedented growth in the wind energy sector. During the last fiscal year i.e. 2003-2004, wind energy capacity in India grew by more than 35%. Wind power is today recognized in the Asian hemisphere and more particularly in India as being a cost effective, economic, mature and well proven form of clean, environmentally friendly and green energy production - a source of energy much needed in India", said Sarvesh Kumar, Chairman of the IWTMA". "Japan plans to attain the wind power target of 3,000 megawatts by the year 2010 after the Kyoto Protocol. We have installed about 936 MW to date which is 20 times in comparison to 5 years ago and one third of the national target", said Hikaru Matsumiya, representative of the Japanese Wind Energy and Japanese Wind Power Associations.

GWEC, the global forum for the wind energy sector, calls for stronger national and international policies to support the expansion of wind energy as part of the range of policy options required to tackle climate change.  

According to the report Wind Force 12 (3), boosting investment in wind energy to a level where it would provide 12% of world electricity generation by 2020 would result in annual reductions of 1,813 million tons of CO2 in 2020 from 1,245,000MW of wind energy installed. 

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