Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released its annual figures for 2006, which include wind energy developments in more than 70 countries around the world, showing that this year the installation of 15,197 megawatts (MW), brings the total installed wind energy capacity to 74,223 MW, up from 59,091 MW in 2005.“The tremendous growth in 2006 shows that decision makers are starting to take seriously the benefits that wind energy development can bring. However, we must not forget that wind energy is a new technology that needs robust policy frameworks and political commitment to fulfill its full potential,” said Arthouros Zervos, Chairman of GWEC. Despite constraints facing supply chains for wind turbines, the annual market for wind continued to increase at the rate of 32% following the 2005 record year, in which the market grew by 41%. In terms of economic value, the total value of new generating equipment installed in 2006 reaching Euro 18 billion, or US$23 billion. The countries with the highest total installed capacity are Germany (20,621 MW), Spain (11,615 MW), the U.S. (11,603 MW), India (6,270 MW) and Denmark (3,136). Thirteen countries around the world can now be counted among those with over 1000 MW of wind capacity, with France and Canada reaching this threshold in 2006. In terms of new installed capacity in 2006, the U.S. continued to lead with 2,454 MW, followed by Germany (2,233 MW), India (1,840 MW), Spain (1,587 MW), China (1,347 MW) and France (810 MW). This development shows that new players such as France and China are gaining ground. “Strong growth figures in the U.S. prove that wind is now a mainstream option for new power generation,” said Randy Swisher, President of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).