Last year set records for wind power growth in both North America and Latin America, with nearly 22 GW of capacity installed despite COVID-19 impacts, demonstrating the resilience of the wind industry and solidifying its crucial role in the region, according to the latest data released by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) Market Intelligence.
In 2020, the U.S. blew past all previous records for wind power, installing more capacity in Q4 2020 than was installed the entire year in 2019. Altogether, a whopping 17 GW of new wind power capacity was installed: an 85% year-on-year increase. The main driver of this growth surge was the phase-out of the 100% production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020 for wind power projects that began construction in 2016.
Looking to Latin America, Brazil continues to lead the way for wind power in the region, with 2.3 GW of new capacity installed in 2020. Record years in Argentina (1 GW) and Chile (684 MW) helped to further drive growth in the region, as wind power development in Mexico – one of the region’s largest wind power markets – slowed down due to several political challenges for the sector. Overall, the total wind power capacity in North and Latin America is now 136 GW and 34 GW, respectively.
“Since 2010, the wind power market in the U.S. has tripled in size and nearly quadrupled its share in the country’s electricity mix,” says Feng Zhao, head of market intelligence and strategy at GWEC. “Although we were expecting an installation rush in the U.S. in 2020, this growth is truly impressive considering the impacts of COVID-19 on the country’s supply chain and economy.”