World wind power market for small wind turbines sees dynamic growth and total capacity reaches 440 MW. More than 330 manufacturers of small wind turbines can be found in 40 countries all over the world.
On the occasion of the 3rd World Summit for Small Wind during the New Energy fair in Husum (Germany), World Wind Energy Association released the first Small Wind World Report. For the first time, data about the status of small wind turbines all over the world has been gathered and published.
The total number of small wind turbines installed all over the world reached 656’000 units as of the end of 2010, after 521’000 in 2009 and 460’000 in 2008. These small wind turbines represent a total capacity of around 440 MW (end of 2010), compared with a total capacity of 240 GW of large wind turbines.
The largest share of the small wind turbines can be found in two countries, China (450’000 units/166 MW) and the USA (144’000 units/179 MW), followed by the medium sized markets with 2-22’000 installed units and 5-50 MW total capacity: UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Poland, Japan and Italy.
In 2020, WWEA expects that the total installed small wind capacity will reach 3’800 MW, representing an almost tenfold increase compared with 2010. The market for new small wind turbines will have a volume of around 750 MW in the year 2020.
Today, more than 330 manufacturers of small wind turbines have been identified in 40 countries on all continents, and another estimated 300 companies are manufacturing equipment for the small wind industry. Most of the manufacturers are still small and medium sized companies. More than half of these manufacturers can be found in only five countries, namely in China and the USA, as well as in Germany, Canada and the UK.
In spite of a vibrant small wind power sector in many countries, only few governments are offering specific support policies for small wind. Less than ten countries are offering sufficient feed-in tariffs for small wind, and there is almost a complete lack of support schemes in the development countries, where the demand for small wind turbines would be huge, especially in non-electrified areas. Only in China, small wind turbine contributes today on a large scale to rural electrification, which is also thanks to the relatively modest price level of small wind turbines in the country.
WWEA President He Dexin: "So far, small wind turbines are still only representing a minor share of the wind power market. However, the market potential is enormous. Wherever the wind blows, small wind turbines can provide electricity at affordable prices to local citizens, be it for rural electrification like in China or in other developing countries or connected to the grid, like often in the industrialized countries. Considering this and the recent huge growth rates, the small wind sector has the chance to increase its market shares substantially in the foreseeable future and become a mature industry that contributes to human wealth, energy security and a healthy environment."
World Wind Energy Association Secretary General Stefan Gsänger: "Governments should recognize the huge potentials of small wind and its great economic, social and environmental benefits and set up favorable legal conditions. Short and comprehensive permission procedures, appropriate feed-in tariffs or similar support schemes and comprehensive standard and certification schemes should be implemented in the near future. The huge number of small wind manufacturers, many of them still very small, shows us the potential of the small wind industry, to create jobs and become a booming industry sector."
By José Santamarta, www.wwindea.org/webimages/WWEA%20Small%20Wind%20World%20Report%20Summary%202012.pdf