Worldwide wind capacity reached 282.3 GW in 2012 – with more than 44.6 GW being added last year – according to findings from the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).
The report, World Wind Energy Report 2012, found that although global wind power showed a 19.2% growth, the pace of wind installations slowed to the lowest rate in more than a decade. The U.S. and China each installed approximately 13 GW of new wind turbines with most of the U.S. growth occurring in the last six months to avoid the anticipated expiration of the production tax credit.
Among other findings, the report concluded the following:
- All wind turbines installed by the end of 2012 worldwide can provide 580 TWh, more than 3% of the global electricity demand;
- Altogether, 100 countries and regions used wind power for electricity generation, with Iceland becoming the 100th country to use wind power;
- Latin America and Eastern Europe continue to be the most dynamic world regions while Africa showed stagnation, with only Tunisia and Ethiopia installing new wind farms; and
- The Canadian market slowed down and grew below the global average.
Unsurprisingly, the report concluded that policy uncertainty in major markets represent a major barrier for wind penetration. The WWEA expects a global capacity of more than 500 GW by 2016 and notes nearly 1,000 GW are possible by 2020.