Global Wind Power On the Increase

A record 51.5GW of new wind power generating capacity was added globally during 2014.
Published: Thu 05 Mar 2015

Following a slowdown in new wind installations during 2013, the market rebounded during 2014 with a 44% increase to exceed 50GW for the first time.

Wind power market highly competitive

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which compiles the global wind statistics, this figure is a solid sign of the recovery of the industry after a rough patch in the past few years.

At the end of 2014, total cumulative installations stood at 369,553MW.

“Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid in a rapidly increasing number of markets around the world, even when competing against heavily subsidized incumbents,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general. “Wind is a rapidly maturing technology, with proven reliability and competitiveness. Not only the low prices but also the cost-stability of wind power makes it a very attractive option for utilities, independent power producers and companies who are looking for a hedge against the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels.

China drives global wind power growth

China continues to drive global growth, setting a new record in 2014 with 23,351MW of new wind power, representing 45% of the global market, and dominating the Asian market's total installations of 26,161MW. India's 2,315 MW was a distant second, although the stage is now set for a new round of market growth in that country.

The European market grew marginally in 2014, with 12,820MW of new capacity, and just shy of 2012's record. Germany's 5,279MW of new capacity broke the old record and cemented its position as European market leader, with the UK a distant second at 1,736MW. Sweden passed the 1,000MW mark for the first time with 1,050MW, and France also surpassed that with 1,042MW installed last year.

Africa's largest wind farm came on line with the commissioning of the 300MW Tarfaya plant in Morocco, and South Africa's market made a strong start with 560MW, pushing African totals to 934MW.

In Latin America, Brazil's 2,472MW in new installations led the region’s installations of 3,749MW, although Chile and Uruguay, with 506MW and 405MW respectively, also made strong showings.

The US market recovered in 2014 from 2013's nadir with 4,854MW, Canada set a new record with 1,871MW and Mexico was solid with 522MW. Australia's 567MW showed that the renewables industry in Australia is not dead, despite the current unsettling of the market. [Engerati-Australia’s Renewables Development Paralysed by its Government’s Uncertainty]

Asia leads global wind

At the end of 2014, Asia had 142,199MW of wind capacity with Europe following with 133,969MW. North America was next up with 77,953MW, followed by Latin America with 8,526MW, the Pacific region with 4,441MW and Africa and the Middle East with 2,545MW.

Further reading

GWEC: Global Wind Statistics 2014