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Wind power to increase 160%

Global wind power capacity could increase by 160% over the next five years, according to the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) annual wind industry forecast.

GWEC predicts the global installed wind power capacity will reach 409 GW by 2014, up from 158.5 GW at the end of 2010, assuming an average annual growth rate of 21%.

During 2014, the annual wind power market will be more than 60 GW, up from 38.3 GW in 2009, GWEC expects.

"Even in the face of a global recession and financial crisis, wind energy continues to be the technology of choice in many countries around the world. Wind power is clean, reliable and quick to install, so it is the most attractive solution for improving supply security, reducing CO2 emissions, and creating thousands of jobs in the process," says Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

"All of these qualities are of key importance, even more so in times of economic uncertainty."

USA and China lead

The USA and China will continue to lead the global wind power expansion.

While in the USA, the development for 2010 will be hampered by continued tightness in the financial markets and the overall economic downturn, the provisions of the US Government's Recovery Act, and in particular the grant programmes, will continue to counteract the impacts of the crisis.

Coupled with legislative uncertainty at the federal level in Canada, the result is that the North American wind power market is forecast to stay flat for the next couple of years, and then pick up again in 2012, to reach a cumulative total of 101.5 GW by 2014 (up from 38.5 GW in 2009).

This would translate into an addition of 63 GW of wind power in the USA and Canada over the next five years, GWEC says.

China overtakes Germany

In 2009 China accounted for one third of total annual wind power capacity additions, with 13.8 GW worth of new wind farms installed. This took China's total capacity up to 25.9 GW, thereby overtaking Germany as the country with the most wind power capacity by a narrow margin.

China will remain one of the main drivers of global growth in the coming years, with annual additions expected to be over 20 GW by 2014.

This development is underpinned by a very aggressive government policy supporting the diversification of the electricity supply and the growth of the domestic industry. The Chinese Government has an unofficial target of 150 GW of wind capacity by 2020, and with the current growth rates, it looks likely that this ambitious target will be met well ahead of time, GWEC predicts.

Europe falls behind

Until 2013, Europe will continue to host the largest wind power capacity. However, GWEC expects that by the end of 2014, Europe's installed capacity will stand at 136.5 GW, compared to Asia's 148.8 GW. By 2014, the annual European wind power market will reach 14.5 GW, and a total of 60 GW will be installed in Europe over this five year period.

"Despite the absence of a global price on carbon, wind energy will continue to grow due to national energy policy in the main markets and also because many governments have prioritised renewable energy development in their economic recovery plans," says Arthouros Zervos, GWEC's Chairman.

"All of the fundamental drivers that have made wind power the technology of choice are still in place. Neither the threat of climate change nor the macroeconomic insecurity due to reliance on imported fossil fuel is going to go away."

GWEC will present its full annual Global Wind 2009 Report at the European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC) in Warsaw on 21 April 2010.

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