GWEC projects recovery in global wind energy market

The global wind power market is expected to grow again in 2011, with more than 40 GW of new wind power capacity to be added in 2011, according to a five-year industry forecast published today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). By 2015, the global installed wind power capacity will more than double to 450 GW from 194.4 GW at the end of 2010.

Included in GWEC’s ‘Global Wind Report – Annual market update 2010’, the forecast assumes an average growth rate of 18.2% per year, which is conservative compared to 28% cumulative capacity growth in the sector over the last decade. By 2015, annual market additions are expected to reach 60.5 GW, up from 35.8 GW in 2010.

“2010 was a tough year also for our industry, but 2011 is looking up,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General. “We’ve paid the price for the 2008/9 financial crisis last year, and now we’re back on track.”

This assessment is underpinned by strong investments in wind power in 2010, which were up by 31% compared to the previous year, reaching a record level of USD 96 billion.[1] This investment will translate into an increasing level of wind power installations in the coming years.

The main market driving growth will remain China, which in 2010 accounted for almost half of the global wind turbines capacity additions (16.5 GW), underpinned by ambitious long-term government plans, supportive policies and staggering investment in the sector. Annual additions are expected to exceed 20 GW by 2015, which would result in China surpassing its target of installing 70 GW of new wind power in the next five years, as adopted in the government’s new Five-Year plan. Coupled with India’s steady growth, GWEC expects a total capacity of 174.6 GW to be operational across Asia by the end of 2010.

Europe will remain the second largest market out to 2015, with capacity additions totalling 60 GW, bringing cumulative wind power installations up to 146.1 GW. While Germany and Spain will remain the leading markets, a larger number of other strong markets will make an increasing contribution. In addition, large scale offshore developments are expected to account for an growing share of the new wind capacity.

The North American market will remain subdued for the next two years, due to legislative uncertainty at the federal level both in the US and Canada. However, GWEC expects that by 2014, the market will once again approach its 2009 size. In the next five years, the total installed capacity in the region is expected to more than double to reach 94.2 GW.

In Latin America, encouraging developments in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and elsewhere lead GWEC to expect that at the end of 2015, the total installed wind capacity will have grown to 19 GW across the region, up from just 2 GW at the end of 2010.

“Wind power is now a truly global industry, with installations in around 80 countries. We expect that over the course of the next five years, additional markets will pick up in other parts of Asia, Latin America, and Africa,” said Klaus Rave, GWEC’s Chairman.