The capacity of wind power generation worldwide reached 432.42 gigawatts at the end of 2015, up 17 percent from a year earlier and surpassing nuclear energy for the first time, according to data released by global industry bodies.
The generation capacity of wind farms newly built in 2015 was a record 63.01 gigawatts, corresponding to about 60 nuclear reactors, according to the Global Wind Energy Council based in Brussels. The global nuclear power generation capacity was 382.55 gigawatts as of Jan. 1, 2016, the London-based World Nuclear Association said.
Both wind power and nuclear energy are considered alternatives to fossil fuel power for producing less greenhouse gases.
Wind energy has captured renewed attention as technological innovation has considerably lowered its generation costs while nuclear power continues to suffer a backlash following the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns.
Wind power is the leading energy source in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, the wind energy council said as it released the data last week.
China led all other countries in wind energy generation capacity with 145.10 gigawqatts. Beijing is promoting wind power to shift from coal and other fossil fuels to combat air pollution and global warming.
The figure is followed by the United States with 74.47 gigawatts, Germany with 44.95 gigawatts, India with 25.09 gigawatts and Spain with 23.03 gigawatts. Japan produced 3.04 gigawatts.