Record wind capacity added worldwide in 2012, led by Asia

Clare Saxon Ghauri
21 May 2013

LONDON: A new report reveals that in 2012, worldwide wind capacity increased more than ever before and the sector boasted a turnover of US$75 billion, led by China, the US, India and Germany.

The promising findings come from a new report by the World Wind Energy Association called World Wind Energy Report 2012, which analyzes the growth of the global wind energy sector across the 100 countries that are currently using it to power their economies.

The report states that in 2012, worldwide wind capacity hit 282,275 megawatts, of which a record 44,609 megawatts was added.

Conclusions from the report include the following figures for 2012:

  • China and the US both installed around 13 gigawatts of new wind turbines. But while this is less than the previous year for China, the US set a new record to become the world’s largest market for new turbines.
  • India was the third largest market for new wind turbines worldwide for the second year in a row, adding 2.5 gigawatts.
  • Asia was the region with the largest share of new installations (36%), closely followed by North America (31%) and then Europe (28%).
  • Germany was Europe’s biggest market for new turbines (31 gigwatts) followed by Spain (23 gigawatts).
  • UK claimed the largest stake in the global offshore wind market, at 74% (compared to 46% in 2011).
  • Iceland became the 100th country to use wind power for electricity generation.
  • Despite record new installations, wind power showed the lowest annual growth rate in more than a decade at just 19.2%.

The authors write: “The contribution of wind power to the energy supply has reached a substantial share even on the global level: All wind turbines installed around the globe by the end of 2011 contribute potentially 580 Terawatthours to the worldwide electricity supply, more than 3% of the global electricity demand.”

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, commented: “The record figures for new wind turbine installation figures are indeed impressive. However, market records must continue to be broken if clean energy is to be adopted into the mainstream in time to dominate the sector and adequately reduce emissions -- and this yearly growth rate is a disappointment.

"One of the major barriers for adoption is policy uncertainty. Policy makers in the major markets – US, India, Germany, Spain as well as China – must remove this doubt if they are to defend their top positions from emerging markets in Eastern Europe and South America, and continue to lead the global clean revolution.”

Read World Wind Energy Report 2012

By Clare Saxon

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