The wind power industry set new records across the world last year, and wind is leading the transformation of the global power system, according to the Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
“Wind power led all technologies in new power generation in 2015,” says GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer. “Led by wind, renewables have come of age and are transforming the power sector.”
According to GWEC, the Chinese industry installed no less than 30.8 GW of new capacity last year – more than the whole industry installed in 2008. China also surpassed the European Union in total installations, ending the year with 145 GW in total. Both Europe and the U.S. markets performed better than expected, and the European offshore sector set a new record, installing just over 3 GW. Canada, Mexico and Brazil also all had strong years.
“The Paris Agreement requires a fully decarbonized power system by 2050, if not before, if we are keeping temperatures below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels,” continues Sawyer. “We have to turn things around very quickly.”
GWEC projects that wind power installations will nearly double in the next five years, led by China, but with major contributions from both Europe, on the basis of its 2020 targets, and the U.S., which is now entering its longest period of policy stability thanks to the extension of the production tax credit.
At the same time, GWEC says, new markets are emerging across Africa, Asia and Latin America, which will provide the major growth markets in the next decade. Outside of China, Asia will be led by India, but new markets, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan and Mongolia, are also developing quickly.
South Africa was the first market in Africa to pass the 1,000 MW last year and, alongside Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya, will be leading development in that market. Egypt is currently in talks with Vestas for a 2.2 GW wind farm deal, and Brazil will continue to lead in Latin America, followed by Chile and Uruguay. A potentially very large market is just now opening up in Argentina.