The global wind energy markets have seen another record year in 2007, with 20 GW of new installations, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Installations were up by 30% compared to the new installations in 2006, while the sum of the world's total installations had increased by 27% to reach over 94 GW by the end of 2007, according to GWEC.
‘Emissions-free wind power can be brought online quickly, and must play a major role in meeting climate protection targets,’ says Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC. ‘This is especially the case in the critical period between now and 2020, when greenhouse gas emissions must peak and begin to decline if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.’
In terms of economic value, the global wind market is estimated to be worth about $36 billion annually in new generating equipment. New developments in 2007 have seen the U.S. continuing to lead as the biggest annual market, with 5.2 GW of new installations, followed by Spain and China, which added 3.5 GW and 3.4 GW, respectively, to their total capacity.
According to GWEC, total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. was expanded by 45% in a single calendar year, injecting an investment of over $9 billion into the nation's economy. With the total installed capacity in the U.S. now standing at 16.8 GW, it can be expected that the U.S. will overtake Germany as the largest market for wind energy by the end of 2009, provided that growth continues at the current rate, according to GWEC.