After Big Boom, Wind Growth Moderates

Worldwide wind capacity reached 254 GW by the end of June 2012, according to the World Wind Energy Association’s (WWEA) latest figures. Some 16.5 GW were added between January and June, representing an increase of 10% less than in the first half of 2011, when close to 18.5 GW were added.

Global wind capacity grew by 7% within the first six months of 2012 and by 16.4% on an annual basis (mid-2012 compared with mid-2011). This was 2% less than the same period in 2011 while, in comparison, the annual growth rate in 2011 was 20.3%.

China, US, Germany, Spain and India Lead

Still the five leading countries, China, the US, Germany, Spain and India together represent a total share of 74% of the global wind capacity.

The top 10 markets showed a diverse picture in the first half of 2012. While five countries performed stronger than in 2011 (the US, Germany, Italy, France and the UK), India had a stable market and four countries saw a decrease (China, Spain, Canada and Portugal).

China and India

Again in 2012, China represents by far the largest wind market, adding 5.4 GW in six months. However, this is significantly less than in the previous year, when it added 8 GW. China accounted for 32% of the world market for new wind turbines, well down on the 43% in the full year 2011. By June 2012, China had an overall installed capacity of around 67.7 GW and without doubt it will continue to maintain its number one position in the foreseeable future, albeit at a lower speed.

India added 1471 MW, a similar amount to that seen in the first half of 2011. Future prospects for the Indian market are blurring due to outstanding payments for wind generators in some parts of the country and the recent decisions to abolish important support schemes for the sector.

Europe

Most European markets showed stronger growth in the first half of 2012 when compared with same period of the previous year. The top markets continue to be Germany with a new capacity of 941 MW installed in the first half of 2012 and a total of 30,016 MW, followed by Spain (414 MW and 22,087 MW in total), Italy (490 MW, 7280 MW total), France (650 MW, 7182 MW total), the UK (822 MW, 6480 MW) and Portugal (19 MW, 4398 MW). All of these markets, aside from Spain and Portugal, showed an increase in new capacity compared with the first half of 2011.

Total installed capacity worldwide 2010-12 (MW) (WWEA)

Again, the ‘emerging’ markets in Eastern Europe are amongst the most dynamic. For example, Romania saw some 33% growth (274 MW added), Poland with 32% (527 MW added by April 2012), Ukraine with 64% (37 MW added) and Latvia with 64% (20 MW added).

The US and Canada

The US market added 2883 MW of wind between January and June 2012, about 28% more than in the same period in 2011.

Major uncertainties arise from the unclear situation about the future of the Production Tax Credit. Several companies have already reduced staffing levels, and the near future of the US wind market may not be very bright. Canada installed 246 MW during the first half of 2012, less than in the equivalent period of 2011.

Latin America

The two biggest Latin American markets, Brazil and Mexico, had modest growth rates but still above the global average. Brazil increased its installed capacity from 1425 MW to 1543 MW, and Mexico from 929 MW to 1002 MW. Both countries are expected to continue as the leading markets in the region in the next years.

Australia

Very encouraging developments happened in Australia where the wind market installed an additional 384 MW, equaling a 17% growth in comparison with 2011.

Worldwide Prospects for 2012 and 2013

In the second half of 2012, an additional capacity of 19 GW is expected to be erected worldwide, which would bring new annual installations to 35,546 MW, significantly less that the 40,535 MW of 2011. Total installed wind capacity is expected to reach 273 GW by the end of this year.

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