Global Wind Power Growth Continues

The global wind power industry installed 8,133 Megawatts MW in 2003, according to figures released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), bringing the world’s total wind power generating capacity to 39,294 MW.

Brussels, Belgium and Washington D.C. – March 11, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The new wind sector investment is worth ý8 billion, (US$9.7 billion) up from ý6.8 billion (US$8.3 billion) in 2002. The total capacity of 39,294 MW provides enough to power the equivalent of 19 million average European households, or 47 million people. Europe and the U.S. dominated the global market in 2003, accounting for 88% of the new installations. India added 408 MW (5%), the largest single addition outside the European and U.S. markets. The countries with the most wind power capacity are Germany – by far the largest market, in spite of a slight decline in the rate of new installations – followed by the United States, Spain, India and Austria. A number of countries, including the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, and the UK, now have several hundred megawatts installed and are nearing the 1,000-MW mark. “Annual growth rates of over 35% over the past five years have made Europe the frontrunner in global wind energy development,” said EWEA Chief Executive Corin Millais. “It is time to ditch the ‘alternative’ tag and view wind power for what it is: a mainstream energy source delivering high growth rates and providing economic, as well a environmental benefits. The fact that most of the success so far results from only 5 countries highlights the untapped opportunities ahead for the wind sector”, “The past year saw a fresh wave of investments across the U.S., delivering clean power to American customers and economic benefits to rural communities,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “The industry’s momentum has been cut short, however, by the expiration in December 2003 of the federal production tax credit, an incentive that is important for financing wind projects. The U.S. wind energy industry is calling for a swift extension so development can resume, and for consistent policy support in the years ahead to unleash pent-up investments ready to flow into the vast U.S. market.” Global cumulative installed capacity increased by 26% in 2003. The increase of 8,1330 MW was 18% higher than 2002’s 6,868 MW. Globally the total amount of installed wind power has grown 500% since 1997, from 7,636 MW to 39,294 MW in 2003. Growth of the wind sector is widely forecast to continue in the double digits into the next decade, even as the industry matures. A survey published by DEWI the German wind energy institute last week reported that the global market could reach 150,000 MW by 2012, worth an additional ý130 billion (159 billion). The global wind energy industry will meet for the first time on U.S. soil for the Global WINDPOWER 2004 Conference and Exhibition — The future of wind energy, achieving the vision: An international perspective on the vision, goals, and challenges facing the wind industry (Chicago, Illinois, March 28-31). More than 3,000 delegates will visit Chicago for the Global WINDPOWER2004 conference. AWEA, EWEA, and over 40 other wind energy associations worldwide are organizing the event, which will bring together the world’s leading wind energy executives and policymakers to discuss the future of this clean, renewable 21st century energy source.
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