The world's wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 GW, to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). One-third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth.
‘The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is a testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install,’ says Steve Sawyer, GWEC's secretary general.
The global wind market for turbine installations in 2009 was worth about $63 billion. GWEC estimates that around half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world.
The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009.
China was the world's largest market in 2009, nearly doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.1 GW at the end of 2009 with new capacity additions of 13 GW.
The U.S. continues to have a comfortable lead in terms of total installed capacity. The U.S. wind energy market installed nearly 10 GW in 2009, increasing the country's installed capacity by 39% and bringing the total installed, grid-connected capacity to 35 GW.
In early 2009, some analysts had foreseen a drop in wind power development of as much as 50%, but the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with its strong focus on wind energy development, in the summer reversed this trend.
SOURCE: Global Wind Energy Council