U.S., China Continue To Lead Global Expansion Of Wind Power

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Global wind energy markets – lead by the U.S. and China – are expected to continue their rapid growth, with the world's wind power capacity increasing by 160% over the coming five years, according to the annual industry forecast presented by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

GWEC expects that the global installed wind capacity will reach 409 GW by 2014, up from 158.5 GW at the end of 2009. This assumes an average growth rate of 21% per year, which is conservative compared to the 29% average growth that the wind industry experienced over the past decade, according to the forecast. During 2014, the annual market will be more than 60 GW, up from 38.3 GW in 2009. Â GWEC will present its full annual Global Wind 2009 Report at the European Wind Energy Conference in Warsaw on April 21, which will include a five-year forecast for the development of the global wind energy market.

According to GWEC, the two markets leading global wind power expansion will continue to be the U.S. and China, whose markets have exceeded all expectations in recent years.

While U.S. development for this year will continue to be hampered by continued tightness in the financial markets and the overall economic downturn, the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will continue to counteract the impacts of the crisis, GWEC's forecast indicates.

Coupled with legislative uncertainty at the federal level in Canada, the result is that the North American market is forecast to stay flat for the next couple of years and then pick up again in 2012, to reach a cumulative total of 101.5 GW by 2014 (up from 38.5 GW in 2009). This would translate into an addition of 63 GW in the U.S. and Canada over the next five years.

In China, growth is set to continue at a breathtaking pace. In 2009, China accounted for one-third of total annual wind capacity additions, with 13.8 GW worth of new wind farms installed. This took China's total capacity up to 25.9 GW, thereby overtaking Germany as the country with the most wind power capacity by a narrow margin.

China will remain one of the main drivers of global growth in the coming years, with annual additions expected to be over 20 GW by 2014. This development is underpinned by a very aggressive government policy supporting the diversification of the electricity supply and the growth of the domestic industry.

The Chinese government has an unofficial target of 150 GW of wind capacity by 2020, and with the current growth rates, it looks likely that this target will be met well ahead of time, GWEC says.

SOURCE: Global Wind Energy Council

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