Wind Power Growth Continues to Break Records Despite Recession

Saya Kitasei | May 06, 2010

Global wind power capacity increased by 38,343 megawatts to a total of 158,505 megawatts in 2009.1 Despite a widespread economic recession, new wind power capacity grew more than 31 percent in cumulative installations, the highest rate in the last eight years.2 (See Figures 1 and 2.) Worldwide, wind power contributed 340 billion kilowatt-hours, or 2 percent, to global electricity consumption in 2009.3

The Asian market became the main driver behind the wind industry’s continued growth, with 15,442 megawatts of new wind capacity installed in 2009, which increased Asia’s total installed capacity by 64 percent over 2008.4 (See Figure 3.) China passed the United States to become the world’s largest wind turbine market, installing 13,803 megawatts in 2009 to reach a total of 25,805 megawatts.5 China accounted for more than one third of the world’s wind capacity installations in 2009, more than doubling its cumulative installed capacity for the fourth year in a row.6 The country continued to pursue an aggressive policy agenda for renewables, introducing a fixed feed-in tariff for new onshore wind power plants and outspending the United States on renewable energy.7 Nevertheless, China continues to suffer from inadequate transmission capacity; as a result, over a quarter of its existing wind capacity is not connected to the grid.8

India installed 2,459 megawatts of new capacity last year, consolidating its position as the fifth largest wind energy producer in the world.9 Both India and China have strong domestic wind turbine manufacturing industries with large market shares in Asia: 4 of the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers by market share in 2009 were Chinese or Indian, together serving 29 percent of the world market.10 (See Figure 4.)

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