Wind energy market added in 2016 more than 54 GW, bringing total global installed capacity to nearly 487 GW. China (23,328 MW), USA (8,203), Germany (5,443) and India (3,612) contributed the most to this increase in capacity installed.
Brazil heads the new capacity rise in Latin America, adding 2,014 MW and Fance led the rise among European countries contributing with 1,561 new MW installed last year.
Despite the good performance a of new capacity added by China Usa, Germany and India and the surprisingly strong behaviour France, Turkey (1,387 new MW) and the Netherlands (887 new MW ), the global market grew less than in 2015 as a whole. Those are some of the data included in the Anual Market Statistics report published today by the Global Wind Energy Council.
“Overall, the industry is in pretty good shape”, concluded Sawyer, “with new markets emerging across Africa, Asia
and Latin America, and the traditional markets in China, the US and Germany continuing to perform well. We look forward to a strong 2017,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.
New addings during 2016 brought global wind energy cumulative generation capacity to 486,749 MW (486,7 GW) from the 436,680 MW reached at the end of 2015.
Double digit growth but under 2015 record
“Wind power continues to grow in double digits; but we can’t expect the industry to set a new record every single year,” Sawyer continued.
“Chinese installations were an impressive 23,328 MW, although this was less than 2015’s spectacular 30 GW, which was driven by impending feed-in tariff reductions. Also, Chinese electricity demand growth is slackening, and the grid is unable to handle the volume of new wind capacity additions; although we expect the market to pick up again in 2017.” The Chinese offshore market began what many hope is the sector’s long awaited take-off in 2016, with China passing Denmark to achieve 3rd place in the global offshore rankings, after the UK and Germany.
US installations (8,203 MW) were nearly equal to 2015’s strong market, bringing the US total to more than 82 GW. The US industry now employs more than 100,000 people and has more than 18 GW under construction or in advanced stages of development, a harbinger for a strong market again in 2017. Canada (702 MW) and Mexico (454 MW) posted solid though modest gains.
India set a new national record with 3,612 MW of new installations, 2016’s 4th largest market; this brings the country’s total to 28,700 MW, consolidating its 4th position in total cumulative installations as well. “We have great expectations for the Indian market”, continued Sawyer, “and we look forward to seeing offshore making a contribution in India in the next few years.”
Costs plummet in Europe but modest gains by political uncertainty
Europe had a surprisingly strong year, given the policy uncertainty wave that sweeps the region, posting modest gains with an annual market of 13,926 MW of which the EU-28 contributed 12,491 MW.
Germany also had another strong year, installing 5,443 MW, what brought its total capacity to more than 50 GW, the third country that reached that milestone.
France had a strong year with more than 1,500 MW, and Turkey broke the 1 GW barrier for the first time, installing 1,387 MW. The Netherlands entered the global top 10 in terms of annual market for the first time, with 887 MW, most of which was offshore.
“The cost of wind power continues to plummet, and this is particularly the case for the European offshore sector, which has met and exceeded its 2020 price targets by a substantial margin, and five years early”, Steve Sawyer pointed.
Latin Ameria: Political and economic troubles pushed Brazil’s MW gains down, but still at the head
Brazil once again led Wind MW increases in Latin America, although the country’s political and economic turbulence resulted in a market which grew scarcely over the 2 GW (2,014 MW). This grwoth still pushed the country over the 10 GW cumulative installed mark, ending 2016 with 10,740 MW.
Chile posted a record year with 513 MW installed, bringing the country’s total to 1,424 MW, and Uruguay added 365 MW for a 2016 total of 1,210 MW. Peru (93 MW), the Dominican Republic (50 MW) and Costa Rica (20 MW) also had significant installations last year.
Argentina had no new installations in 2016, it now has a solid pipeline of more than 1,400 MW which will be built out over the next couple of years.
Africa: Morocco builds the future, while Egypt seems to shelve wind plans
Africa remained quiet. Just 418 MW were installed in South Africa last year, under a Renewable Power Programme, which is currently suffering the wow between the President, his cronies and the State electric company Eskom on one hand; and the energy regulator, the Ministry and the industry on the other.
Elsewhere, Morocco had a successful auction for 800+ MW of wind which will be built out over the coming years, construction was nearly finished on the Lake Turkana project in Kenya; but Egypt’s renewable ambitions seem to be stuck for the moment.
Aside China and the US, Asia showed quiet
Leaving aside the Wind capacity growths experienced in China, the Asia-Pacific region was quiet as well.
Only Australia added capacity (140 MW) although there are signs of a strong revival in the Australian market.
Image over the headline.- Offshore wind farm. Licensed under Creative Commons via Andreas Klinke Johannsen on Flickr
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