Renewable Power Generation - 2011 figures

edited by Gail Rajgor

Special report. Part three: Wind market still on the up and dominated by China

About the article: This special Renewable Energy Focus power generation focus previews REMIPEG's latest update, carried out in the first four months of 2012 by Lahmeyer International, and presents an overview for each renewable power sector, based on scenarios up to the end of 2011.

This article is taken from the July/August 2012 issue of Renewable Energy Focus (REFocus) magazine. For a free subscription, click here.

Part one - introduction (click here).

Part two - hydropower falls behind wind and biomass as growth dips

Part three - wind power

DESPITE THE financial crisis the market for wind energy continued to grow in 2011. By the year end more than 199,000 turbines with a combined capacity of 241GW were installed globally. Just over 17% of this capacity, or 41.7GW, was added in 2011, which is 6% up on the capacity installed in 2010. Global market growth in terms of total installed capacity was about 22%, while the average growth rate over the last five years remains an impressive 26.5%.

Around half of the new wind capacity installed globally last year was in Asia (see table). By far the largest national market remains China with 17.6GW of new capacity installed. This was though slightly down on the 18.9GW installed in 2010 and the country is still struggling to expand its grid and transmission network to keep pace with wind farm development. Up to a third of the country's wind capacity is still waiting to be connected to the grid, according to some industry commentators.

In Asia's other major market, India, some 2.7GW of wind power was installed to take the country's cumulative capacity to around 16GW by end 2011.

After a slow start, the US had a strong fourth quarter adding 3.44GW in the last three months of 2011 to take its year total for new additions to 6.8GW. Canada also performed well with 1.3GW installed, although it was not enough to put North America ahead of Europe in terms of annual market share.

With just under 2.1GW in new capacity installed, Germany accounted for over a fifth of Europe's 10.1GW year total. Significantly wind power accounted for 8% of Germany's electricity supply in 2011. Meantime, it was also a good year for the UK with 1.29GW of new wind capacity installed to bring its cumulative tally to 6.54GW.

Offshore development barely blipped the radar in terms of new additions, with just 470MW installed, down from 1.4GW in 2010. The UK remains the main market accounting for around 70% of 2011 installations, while the first German commercial offshore wind farm, the 48.3MW Baltic 1 project, became fully operational in May 2011 (In July EnBW sold just under 50% of the project to 19 municipal utilities and in December the wind farm was successfully refinanced).

Despite the lull in new capacity additions, the offshore market was active and Germany's market showed particular signs of picking up momentum. Financial close was reached for both the Meerwind project (288MW) and Global Tech I (400MW). On the equity side utilities Dong and Vattenfall both purchased further project rights.

Meantime, offshore construction commenced at the 200MW Borkum West II with the pre-piling works for the tripod foundations underway. The project was the first to use a so-called large bubble curtain to reduce the noise during pile driving.

Supplier rankings, projects, and technology trends

Vestas remains the largest turbine manufacturer, accounting for 20.9% of the cumulative market and 12.9% of new installations in 2011. In second place was China's Goldwind, whilst last year's runner up, Sinovel, slipped five places in the rankings to seventh, followed by GE Wind and Gamesa.

A key project commissioned last year features 6MW and 7.5MW turbines from Enercon, which was placed fifth in terms of 2011 capacity additions. The Estinnes Wind Park in Belgium comprises 11 Enercon E-126 wind turbines and is the first onshore wind farm using such large turbines.

Meantime, some very large projects were again commissioned in the United States. This includes the 443.9MW Rolling Hills project in Iowa, comprising of 193 Siemens SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines.

In Australia, another large project, the 420MW Macarthur wind farm, started construction in 2011. Comprising 140 Vestas V112-3MW, it was one of the first projects to be announced using the new turbine and once completed will be the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

In terms of technology trends the low-wind site turbines announced in previous years are now starting to come to market. In June 2011, Enercon installed the first prototype of its new E-101 3MW turbine class, while in December Nordex installed its first N117 2.4MW prototype design in northern Germany.

The zero series of Vestas' new flagship product, the V112-3MW, was installed at various sites in Germany during 2011. During the summer, the Danish firm started serial production with the first batch of turbines shipped in October 2011. That same month the company said it had received over 1GW of firm and unconditional orders for the V112-3.0MW unit.

Turbine development for the offshore sector meanwhile was very active. In terms of plans for new designs, Vestas announced it is developing a 7MW machine with a 164m rotor diameter, while Germany's Nordex revealed plans for the N150/6000, a 6MW direct drive turbine with 150m rotor diameter.

Spain's Gamesa launched its 5MW G128 machine, with plans for a 6-7MW turbine (the G14X) also in the works, while another 7MW design was announced by Mitsubishi (with 165m rotor). AREVA Wind also announced plans for a 135m rotor version of its M5000 turbine, currently available only with a 116m rotor.

Meantime in June, Siemens installed its prototype SWT-6.0 6MW gearless offshore turbine at the test site in Høvsøre, Denmark, while XEMC Darwind, a subsidiary of the Chinese corporation XEMC, installed a prototype of its XE115-5000 5MW direct drive offshore turbine in the Netherlands. And in China, local manufacturer Sinovel installed a prototype of its 6 MWSL6000 turbine in October.

Summary of the global wind power market, region by region, end of 2011
  Cumulated installed capacity 2011 (GW) Newly installed capacity 2011 (GW) Estimated electricity generation 2011 (TWh/year)
Europe 97.6 10.2 199.8
North America 52.4 8.1 123.2
South America 4.2 1.5 3.9
Asia 79.2 21.0 156.8
OECD - Pacific 6.1 0.7 12.2
Africa 1.2 0.1 2.1
World total 241
Largest National Market China 62.4 China 17.6  China 119.8
Offshore (of the above) 3.9 0.4  


Part four (out soon): Strong year for Solar PV as support subsidies slashed.



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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power