Wind Power Goes Global

BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 10, 2005 (ENS) - The wind turbines of the world are spinning in sync. The Global Wind Energy Council, launched Wednesday, is the new global forum for the wind energy sector, uniting the wind industry and its representative associations. Members operate in more than 50 countries and represent over 1,500 organizations involved in hardware manufacture, project development, power generation, finance and consultancy, as well as researchers and academics.

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) members represent all the world’s major wind turbine manufacturers and 99 per cent of the world’s 47,317 megawatts (MW) of installed wind power capacity.

The global wind power industry increased its total installed generating capacity by 20 percent in 2004 installing 7,976 MW, according to figures released today by the Global Wind Energy Council.

The countries with the highest total installed wind power capacity are Germany (16,629 MW), Spain (8,263 MW), the United States (6,740 MW), Denmark (3,117 MW) and India (3,000 MW).

The top five countries account for over 67 percent of 2004 installation and nearly 80 percent of total wind energy installation worldwide. A number of countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, and the UK, are above or near the 1,000-MW mark.

Europe continued to dominate the global market in 2004, accounting for 72.4 percent of new installations (5,774 MW). Asia had a 15.9 percent installation share (1,269 MW), followed by North America (6.4 percent; 512 MW) and the Pacific Region (4.1 percent; 325 MW).

Latin America + the Caribbean (49 MW) and Africa (47 MW) had a 0.6 percent market share respectively.

turbines

Located about 10 kilometers off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, the Arklow Bank offshore wind park consists of seven GE Wind 3.6-MW wind turbines. Construction was completed in 2003. This is the world's first commercial application of offshore wind turbines over 3 MW in size. (Photo by Robert Thresher courtesy NREL)
“Europe is the global leader in wind energy, but we are witnessing the globalization of the wind energy markets. In Europe, the market has experienced average annual growth rates of 22 percent over the past six years; however, the further rapid progress that the industry is capable of delivering is constrained by barriers such as grid access and administrative hurdles,” said EWEA President Arthouros Zervos.

“Renewed political initiatives by the G8 could boost wind power; the industry is well positioned and ready for a more rapid roll out given the right political signals."

Growth in the U.S. market was predictably slow because of the long delay in extending the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy, which had expired in December 2003 and was extended in October 2004. Proposed projects are now back on the fast track and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) expects that over 2,000 MWwill be installed nationwide during 2005.

Uncertainty continues to loom over the U.S. market, however, since the PTC will expire again in December 2005 unless Congress moves quickly to extend the incentive. The U.S. wind energy industry is calling for a long-term extension so that companies can plan for steadier, stronger growth over the coming years.

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GE Wind's 1.5 megawatt wind turbine installed in Tehachapi, California, in 2001. the turbine has a 70.5 meter rotor, advance airfoils, independent blade pitch controls, and a water-cooled generator. (Photo Warren Gretz courtesy NREL)
"Wind energy technology has bolted out of the starting gate in the U.S. and is delivering clean, safe, inexhaustible power to customers nationwide, but its deployment remains hobbled by the intermittency and uncertainty of the federal incentive for wind and other renewable energy sources," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "For wind energy to contribute a substantially larger share to the nation’s electricity, companies need a stable planning horizon, comparable at least to that available for conventional technologies."

“Wind energy capacity in Australia almost doubled in the last 12 months with 380 MW of wind energy capacity installed at the close of 2004. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing clean energy sources because it is proven, quick to build and economically viable." said Ian Lloyd-Besson, president of AusWEA, the Australian Wind Energy Association.

“Besides being clean and green, wind energy brings investment, drought-proof farming income and jobs to rural communities. Australia has some of the most powerful and abundant untapped wind resource on the planet and a grid capacity that can potentially accommodate up to 8,000 MW of wind energy with minor adjustments," said Lloyd-Besson. "Even if we were to develop just half of this, the regional employment benefits and export opportunities would be enormous.”

"2004 was a record year for the Canadian wind energy industry with 122 MW of new installed capacity. It is certain that this record will be shattered in 2005 and recent developments in federal and provincial energy policy promise a 10-fold increase in Canada's total installed wind energy capacity over the next five years," said CanWEA President Robert Hornung.

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Wind turbine in China (Photo courtesy InfraVest)
“China’s anticipated entry into the global renewable energy market is expected to have a profound impact on the global industry. We have spent a lot of time and energy learning from the successes and failures of our partners in Europe and around the world." said Li Junfeng, secretary general, CREIA, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

”India has witnessed unprecedented growth in the wind energy sector. During the last fiscal year, 2003-2004, wind energy capacity in India grew by more than 35 percent. Wind power is today recognized in the Asian hemisphere and more particularly in India as being a cost effective, economic, mature and well proven form of clean, environmentally friendly and green energy production – a source of energy much needed in India," said Sarvesh Kumar, chairman of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association.

“Japan plans to attain the wind power target of 3,000 megawatts by the year 2010 after the Kyoto Protocol. We have installed about 936 MW to date which is 20 times in comparison to five years ago and one third of the national target." said Hikaru Matsumiya, representative of the Japanese Wind Energy and Japanese Wind Power Associations.

GWEC, the global forum for the wind energy sector, includes representative associations from the EU-25 Member States, Russia, Africa, Asia, South America, New Zealand and many other countries.

The organization is calling for stronger national and international policies to support the expansion of wind energy as part of the range of policy options required to tackle climate change.

According to the GWEC report Wind Force 12, boosting investment in wind energy to a level where it would provide 12 percent of world electricity generation by 2020 would result in annual reductions of 1,813 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in 2020 from 1,245,000 MW of wind energy installed.