GWEC Says Wind Boom Will Continue

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is forecasting that the global wind market will grow by more than 155 percent, reaching 240 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity by 2012. With both the U.S. and the Chinese markets growing at a much faster rate than expected a year ago, the emergence of significant manufacturing capacity in China will have a more important impact on the growth of the global markets.

GWEC now forecasts an addition of 146 GW will come online in the next five years, equalling an investment of more than €180 billion (US $277 billion). By 2012 wind generated electricity is expected to reach over 500 terrawatt-hours (TWh) annually, up from 200 TWh in 2007. In 2012, Europe will continue to host the largest wind energy capacity, with the total reaching 102 GW, followed by Asia with 66 GW and North America with 61.3 GW, according to GWEC.

Asia, led by China, is predicted to overtake Europe as the biggest annual market, with as much as 12.5 GW of new wind generating capacity installed during 2012, up from 5.4 GW in 2007. Europe, meanwhile, will have fallen to third place in terms of annual installations at 10.3 GW, just behind North America at 10.5 GW by then. Assuming the Production Tax Credit (PTC) will be renewed, North America will see an addition of 42.6 GW of wind in the next five years, reaching 61.3 GW of total capacity in 2012. This represents an average of 8.5 GW of new capacity added every year, the bulk of which will be in the U.S.

“The wind energy market continues to achieve tremendous growth rates, and has now hit 20 GW of new installations per year. As a result, we have had to revise even our most ambitious estimates. The fastest areas of growth for the next five years will be North America and Asia, and more specifically, the U.S. and China,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

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