More than 54 GW of wind energy was installed across the global market in 2016, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which says the market now comprises more than 90 countries, including nine with more than 10 GW installed and 29 over the 1 GW mark.
In addition, cumulative capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8 GW, says GWEC.
“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future,” comments Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary-general.
The report notes that wind power penetration levels also continue to increase, led by Denmark, getting almost 40% of its power from wind, followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with well over 20%; Spain and Cyprus around 20%; Germany at 16%; and China, the U.S. and Canada at 4%, 5.5% and 6%, respectively.
GWEC’s rolling five-year forecast sees almost 60 GW of new wind installations in 2017 and 75 GW by 2021 – to bring cumulative installed capacity of over 800 GW by the end of 2021.
According to the report, growth will be led by Asia. China will continue to lead all markets, but considering India set a new record for installations this past year, it has a real shot to meet the government’s very ambitious targets for the sector, says GWEC.
Market fundamentals are strong in North America, and Europe’s steady march toward its 2020 targets has been given a big boost by the year’s most exciting new development: the dramatic price reductions for offshore wind, says GWEC, adding that though Europe will continue to lead the offshore market, the low prices have attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide, particularly in North America and Asia.
“Offshore wind has had a major price breakthrough in the past year and looks set to live up to the enormous potential that many have believed in for years,” Sawyer says. “We see the technology continuing to improve and spread beyond its home base in Europe in the next five to 10 years.”
Despite Brazil’s political and economic woes, other countries in the region have stepped up to fill the gap, especially Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, the report says.
GWEC expects Africa to have a big year in 2017 – led by Kenya, South Africa and Morocco. In addition, after a lull, the Australian market looks to come roaring back with a strong pipeline of projects to be built out over the next few years.
“Overall, we have a lot of confidence in the wind power market going forward as the technology continues to improve; prices continue to go down; and the call for clean, renewable power to reduce emissions, clean our air, and create new jobs and new industries only gets stronger with each passing year,” Sawyer concludes.
GWEC’s full “Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update” can be downloaded here.