Global Wind Grows, But At Slower Rate

From Earth Techling

By Pete Danko

The world added 44.7 gigawatts of wind power capacity in 2012, but that wasn’t enough to keep the rate of growth from slowing for the third consecutive year.

In releasing annual wind power totals, the Global Wind Energy Council cited a big drop by China – from 18 GW of new capacity added in 2011 to 13.2 GW brought online in 2012 – in holding the growth rate to just under 19 percent. In 2009, installed capacity had grown by 32 percent. In 2010, it grew 24 percent, and in 2011, 21 percent.

2012 global wind energy

The London Array in the U.K. began producing electricity in 2012 (image via London Array)

That’s not a great trend, but stepping back a bit things look better: In 10 years, global capacity has gone from 31.1 GW to 282.4 GW. And even in 2012, the GWEC said, so-called “emerging markets,” like Mexico and European nations (Sweden, Romania, Italy and Poland) beyond the traditional wind countries, pitched in with a record 12.4 GW.

“While China paused for breath, both the U.S. and European markets had exceptionally strong years,” Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the GWEC, said in a statement.

GWEC wind power

Top 10 new installed capacity, 2012 (image via GWEC)

In fact, China barely beat out the U.S. in 2012, 13,200 MW to 13,124 MW, according to GWEC data (1,000 MW equals 1 GW). The two countries together provided some 59 percent of the world’s new installed wine energy capacity in 2012.

China overtook the U.S. in 2010 as the country with the most installed wind energy capacity, and as of the end of 2012 had 75.6 GW installed (the U.S. had 60 GW), but its industry is suffering great growing pains.

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