The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says it expects new global wind installations to reach at least 47 GW this year, a dramatic increase over 2013 levels. According to a new report from the group, China will lead the market, but there will also be a strong recovery in the U.S. sector, record installations in Canada and Brazil, and hundreds of megawatts in South Africa.
‘The global market is back on track for 2014,’ says Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general. After 2014, he says, ‘the market will resume its steady, if unspectacular, growth and end up just about doubling total global installations during the five-year period to 2018.’
However, GWEC cautions that without a strong global climate policy, the market is unlikely to return to the 20-25% or more average growth that has characterized most of the last two decades.
In the absence of a global price for carbon, or anything close to it, GWEC says wind energy's other attributes come to the fore. In many markets today, wind's most compelling selling point is cost-competitiveness, the group adds. Wind is already competing successfully against heavily subsidized incumbents in a growing number of markets around the world as the technology and its implementation steadily improve, and job creation remains a priority just about everywhere. Furthermore, GWEC says recent events in the Ukraine and elsewhere point to wind energy's contribution to energy security.
"Wind is now a mainstream technology, and a central part of electricity market development in an increasing number of countries," says Sawyer. "But for the industry to reach its full potential, it is essential that governments get serious about climate change, and soon."