After a slowdown in 2013, the wind industry set a new record for annual installations in 2014. Globally, 51,477 MW of new wind generating capacity was added in 2014 according to the global wind market statistics released today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The record-setting figure represents a 44% increase in the annual market, and is a solid sign of the recovery of the industry after a rough patch in the past few years. Total cumulative installations stand at 369,553 MW at the end of 2014.
“Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid in a rapidly increasing number of markets around the world, even when competing against heavily subsidized incumbents,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “Wind is a rapidly maturing technology, with proven reliability and competitiveness. Not only the low prices but also the cost-stability of wind power makes it a very attractive option for utilities, independent power producers and companies who are looking for a hedge against the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels.”
China continues to drive global growth, setting a new record in 2014 with 23,351 MW of new wind power, representing 45% of the global market, and dominating the world-leading Asian market’s total installations of 26,161 MW. India’s 2,315 MW was a distant second, although the stage is now set for a new round of market growth in that country.
The European market grew marginally in 2014, with 12,820 MW of new capacity, and just shy of 2012’s record. Germany’s 5,279 MW of new capacity smashed the old record and cemented its position as European market leader, with the UK a distant second at 1,736. Sweden passed the 1,000 MW mark for the first time with 1,050 MW, and France was the last of four European markets surpassing 1 GW with 1,042 MW installed last year.
Africa’s largest wind farm came on line with the commissioning of the 300 MW Tarfaya plant in Morocco, and South Africa’s market made a strong start with 560 MW, pushing African totals to 934 MW.
Brazil’s 2,472 MW in new installations led Latin American installations of 3,749 MW, although Chile (506 MW) and Uruguay (405 MW) also made strong showings. The US market recovered in 2014 from 2013’s nadir with 4,854 MW, Canada (1,871 MW) set a new record and Mexico (522 MW) was solid. Australia’s 567 MW showed that the renewables industry in Australia is not dead, despite the best efforts of the government to kill it.
“The wind power industry is a key solution to climate change, air pollution, energy security, price stability and a driver of new industries and employment,” said Sawyer. “Let’s hope the climate negotiators get that message and come up with something useful in Paris in December.”