The global wind industry will see a flat year this year, as measured in new megawatts of capacity installed compared to 2009, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The clean energy research firm says that onshore and offshore wind installations in 2010 are expected to total 37.7 GW – down 2% from 2009 – but are set to bounce back to 45 GW in 2011. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects the sector to continue to grow in the years that follow, with an average of 48 GW to be added in 2012 to 2013.
Although activity this year will remain roughly even with 2009, growth rates vary widely across regions, with the rapidly growing nations of the developing world leading the way, according to the report. China once again will be the global leader and will install 25% more new capacity than in 2009, when the country set a record with 14,000 MW.
China's growth in wind energy contrasts with a considerably gloomier picture in the U.S., where Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects installations to fall 39% this year compared to 2009.
The U.S. market continues to be challenged by fallout from the financial crisis, low power prices and an uncertain medium-to-long term policy environment. Low natural-gas prices remain a particular problem, since they bring down the cost of gas-fired electricity and, therefore, make it hard for wind project developers to negotiate attractive power purchase agreements with utilities.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects to see 21% growth in installations in 2011 to 45 GW, with the majority coming from non-traditional wind markets in Latin America and Asia. The group is also predicting that offshore wind installations will more than double between 2010 and 2013, rising from 1.3 GW to 3.3 GW per year. Europe will lead the way with 80% of these installations, specifically in the U.K. and Germany.
SOURCE: Bloomberg New Energy Finance