Rush for PTC saw the US edge China out of wind energy market lead in 2012

The market for wind energy continued to grow in 2012 despite the difficulties in financing and slow economic growth in many OECD countries.

By the end of 2012, more than 222,500 wind turbines with an aggregated capacity of approximately 281GW were installed worldwide. Of this, 44.9GW went up in 2012.

This newly installed capacity represents an increase of about 7% compared to capacity added in 2011. The world market growth rate in terms of cumulative capacity was about 19%, down slightly on the 21% registered in 2011. The average growth rate over the last five years remains at an impressive 24.6%, although this is down from 26.5% in 2011.

With an exceptional year due to uncertainty in the Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension after 2012 [with developers rushing to get projects developed so they could benefit from the incentive while it was available], the USA regained the top position as the largest national market with 13.1GW newly installed (2011: 6.8 GW). This was slightly ahead of China with 13.0GW and Europe with 12.7GW. The table summarises the status of the wind industry in terms of accumulated and 2012 installed capacity by region.

Summary of the global wind power market, region by region, end of 2012
Cumulated installed capacity 2012 (GW) Newly installed capacity 2012 (GW) Estimated electricity generation 2012 (TWh/year)
Europe 109.4 12.7 219
North America 68.7 14.9 172
South America 3.1 1.2 7
Asia 95.4 15.5 162
Oceania 3.3 0.4 8
Africa 1.0 0.2 2
World total 281.2
Largest National Market USA 60.1 USA 44.9