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Global wind installations up 10%

Global wind installations up 10% image

Wind power saw global installations rise by 10% in 2012 to 44.8GW, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council. The body’s Annual Market Update, out today, shows worldwide installed capacity stands at 282.5GW, a cumulative increase of almost 19%.

The document predicts a modest downturn in 2013, however, followed by a recovery in 2014 and beyond with global capacity growing at an average rate of 13.7% to 2017, almost doubling global capacity to 536 GW.

Although policy uncertainty is highlighted as a cause for concern, strong markets in China, India and Brazil, as well as new markets in Latin America, Africa and the rest of Asia, are tipped to drive global growth.

GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said: “Wind power may be variable but the greatest threat to the continued stable growth of the industry is the variability and unpredictability of the politicians who set the frameworks for the energy sector.

“However, all of the fundamentals which have driven wind power to date are still in place: energy security, price stability, local economic development, climate change mitigation and local air and water pollution issues. Wind is now competitive in an increasing number of markets.”

Elsewhere, the report reveals that the US claimed the top spot for global markets in 2012 for the first time since 2009, edging China out by 164MW. However, the late extension of the US Production Tax Credit on 1 January 2013, however, “means that the US market will drop precipitously in 2013, although with substantial recovery expected in 2014”.

Europe’s record installations in 2012 are unlikely to be repeated in 2014, GWEC said, as a result of policy uncertainty and backtracking.

European Wind Energy Association chief executive Thomas Becker said: "European governments are driving up the cost of meeting their 2020 renewable energy targets by making policy changes that undermine investor confidence. An ambitious and binding 2030 renewable energy target would hugely reduce uncertainty. It would create jobs and exports and boost Europe's world-leading wind industry."

After a year of market consolidation in China, the world’s largest market with more than 75GW of installed capacity, authorities are calling for 18GW of installations in 2013. In India, the market is expected to recover and return to growth in 2014. Brazil continues to lead the Latin American market and may surpass 2GW of annual installations in 2013.

Some 500MW is expected to come to financial close in South Africa this year, leading a surge in installations in sub-Saharan Africa which began in Ethiopia in 2012. In Asia, Pakistan, Mongolia, the Philippines and Thailand are all expected to see significant installations in 2013 and beyond.

The full report is available here.

Image: Steve Sawyer highlighted political uncertainty as a global challenge (Danish Wind Energy Association)

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