The global wind energy industry will install more than 46 GW of new wind power capacity this year, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). By the end of 2016, total global wind power capacity will be just under 500 GW, with an annual market in that year of about 60 GW.
Overall, GWEC forecasts average annual market growth rates of about 8% for the next five years, with a strong 2012 and a substantial dip in 2013. Total installations for the 2012-2016 period are expected to reach 255 GW, with cumulative market growth averaging just under 16%.
‘For the next five years, annual market growth will be driven primarily by India and Brazil, with significant contributions from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia,’ says Steve Sawyer, GWEC's secretary general. "While the market continues to diversify across all continents, it is, at the same time, plagued by continued slow economic growth and budget crises in the OECD, as well as the continuing credit crunch."
For the second consecutive year, the majority of new installations were outside the OECD – a trend that will continue, GWEC says. Asia will continue to be the world's largest market, with far more new installations than any other region. In fact, Asia will install 118 GW between now and 2016, surpassing Europe as the world leader in cumulative installed capacity sometime during 2013, ending the period with about 200 GW in total, the report predicts.
After nearly a decade of double- and triple-digit growth, the Chinese market has finally stabilized, and will remain roughly at current levels for the next few years. Having achieved a 3 GW market for the first time in 2011, the annual market in India is expected to reach 5 GW by 2015. The future of Japan's energy system – with the near-universal rejection of nuclear power after the triple tragedy March 11, 2011 – gives hope for a new beginning for the wind industry in Japan.
The European market remains stable, and given the European Union's clear policy framework and targets out to 2020, there are unlikely to be many major surprises. Germany had a strong year last year, and the government's decision to phase out all nuclear power by 2020 gives the industry a new boost. Spain had a disappointing 2011, and 2012 is likely to be even more so, but Romania, Poland, Turkey and Sweden have taken up the slack.
GWEC expects the North American market to have a strong 2012, as both Canada and Mexico will install well over 1 GW to complement what is expected to be a strong year in the U.S., which began the year with more than 8 GW under construction.
Because it now seems unlikely that the reauthorization of the U.S. federal production tax credit will happen in time to have a major impact on the 2013 market, a substantial drop is expected in 2013 in the U.S. market, GWEC says.
However, the Canadian and Mexican markets will remain strong. Overall, just over 50 GW are expected to be installed in North America between 2012 and 2016, bringing the continent's total installed capacity to just over 100 GW at the end of the period.
The Latin American market is dominated by Brazil, which is now becoming established as a major international market with a strong manufacturing base, and will constitute the vast majority of the regional growth in the period out to 2016.