Wind Power Growth Surpasses Projections

Global wind power capacity rose 27 percent in 2007 to more than 94,100 megawatts (MW), led by capacity additions in the European Union, the United States, and China, according to the latest Vital Sign Update from the Worldwatch Institute.

New wind installations were second only to natural gas in the United States as an additional source of power capacity and were the leading source of new capacity in the EU. In China, the estimated 3,449 MW of wind turbines added last year propelled China past the government’s ambitious wind power target for 2010.

The addition of a record-breaking 5,244 MW of wind capacity in the United States in 2007 was driven by the federal production tax credit and by renewable energy mandates in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The nation’s wind capacity now totals 16,818 MW, second only to Germany.

Germany remains the world leader in wind power capacity, with almost 24 percent of the global total (22,247 MW), but it experienced a lackluster year in 2007. Spain led Europe in new installations in 2007, now ranking third worldwide in total wind capacity (15,145 MW). France, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom all experienced significant growth last year as well. In all, EU wind power capacity rose 18 percent in 2007, and the region is home to 60 percent of global installed capacity.

The global wind market was worth an estimated US $36 billion in 2007, accounting for almost half of all investment in new renewable electric and heating capacity. As many as 200,000 people are now employed in the wind industry worldwide.

More information is available from the Worldwatch Institute.

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