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World wind capacity reaches 197 GW

Worldwide wind capacity has reached 197 GW despite a slight decrease in new capacity, according to the World Wind Energy Report 2010 from the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

Just over 37.6 GW of wind were added in 2010, slightly less than in 2009. With a growth rate of 23.6%, wind has seen the slowest growth since 2004.

Nevertheless, wind now has the capacity to generate 430 TWh annually – equalling around 2.5% of global electricity consumption.

The wind power sector had a turnover of €40 billion and employed 670,000 worldwide in 2010.

Chinese lead

China has become number one in total installed wind capacity and the centre of the international wind industry, adding 18,928 MW within one year, accounting for more than 50% of the world market for new wind turbines.

A major decrease in new installations was observed in North America and the USA lost its number one position in total wind capacity to China. At the same time, many Western European countries are showing stagnation, whereas there is strong growth in a number of Eastern European countries.

Germany keeps its number one position in Europe with 27,215 MW, followed by Spain with 20,676 MW of wind power.

The highest shares of wind power can be found in three European countries: Denmark (21%), Portugal (18%) and Spain 16%). Whereas Asia accounted for the largest share of new installations (54.6%), followed by Europe (27%) and North America (16.7%).

Latin America (1.2%) and Africa (0.4%) still played only a marginal role in new wind power installations.

Finally, WWEA says a global capacity of 600 GW is possible by the year 2015 and more than 1.5 TW by the year 2020.

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