With a rapid growth in the renewable energy projects over the past few years, the total installed capacity of the wind power plants across the world has witnessed a manifold increase. Advancements in wind turbines designs have also led a surge in the installed capacity of wind power.
Many companies have developed wind turbines that can produce power in low wind areas with reduced costs. With a scope for development of wind farms even in offshore locations, the electricity generation from wind has been on an uptrend in many countries in recent years. Further, wind power installations occupy less space compared other modes of power generation, bringing in increased operational efficiencies. Wind farms can also be built on agricultural lands, without causing any interruption to cultivation activities.
In its Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update report, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said that cumulative global wind power capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8 GW in 2016. The cumulative installed capacity is expected to reach more than 800 GW by the end of 2021. A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed that China, Germany, India and the US accounted for almost three-quarters of new wind energy capacity of 51GW in 2016.
Here is the list of top wind power producing countries:
China: With an installed capacity of more than 168.7GW in 2016, China is the top wind power producing in the world. The country is making massive investments in renewable energy sector, with a focus on wind power. According to the World Wind Energy Association, the Chinese wind power market is the largest worldwide with a global market share of 52%. China aims to install 10GW of offshore wind energy before the end of 2020. In terms of installed offshore wind capacity at the end of 2016, China is at third position globally, according to GWEC report. Recently, state-owned company China Huaneng Group started the commercial operation of its 300MW offshore wind park located off the coast of Rudong county in Jiangsu province.
Image: Wind power plants in Xinjiang, China. Photo courtesy of Chris Lim from East Coast/Wikipedia.
US: The North American country is the second largest producer of wind power, with an installed capacity of 82.1GW at the end of 2016. According to a report released by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in July this year, there were 14,004 MW of wind projects under construction and 11,815 MW in advanced development. As of 30 June 2017, the country had over 52,000 commercial wind turbines operating in 41 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico. In March 2017, Xcel Energy announced plans to build 11 new wind farms across seven states in the US, with a total capacity of 3.38GW.
Germany: With an installed capacity of 50GW in 2016, Germany is the third largest producer of wind energy. In September 2017, German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) launched a tender for 1GW of onshore wind capacity. The country plans to increase its installed wind capacity through tenders for 2.8GW per year from 2017 to 2019, ICIS reported. Several wind farms in the country are entitled to get a fixed feed-in tariff subsidy under the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG).
Image: Wind turbines in Neuenkirchen, Dithmarschen. Photo courtesy of Dirk Ingo Franke/Wikipedia.
India: The South Asian country is the fourth largest producer of wind power, having an installed capacity of 28.7GW at the end of 2016. The country aims to have an installed wind power capacity of 60GW by 2022. In September 2017, Dubai-based investor Abraaj Group and French energy company Engie have forged a partnership to develop a pipeline of wind power projects of more than 1GW across several Indian states. According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), wind power is estimated to contribute to 14% of India’s renewable energy use by 2030.
Spain: With an installed capacity of 23GW in 2016, Spain occupies fifth position in the list of top wind power producing nations in the world. The country’s wind power accounted for 4.7% of the installed global wind energy capacity. In 2015, wind power contribution to the country’s total electricity production was 19%, according to a report by Red Eléctrica de España (REE). It also accounted for more than half of the renewable energy production in the country in that year.
Image: Aerial view of a wind farm in Spain. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Boutet/Wikipedia.
UK: Accounting for 3% of the installed global wind power capacity in 2016, the UK is the sixth largest producer of wind power in the world. The country is considered to be one of the ideal locations for wind power generation. In 2015, wind power contributed to 11% of the electricity generation in the UK, according to a report by National Grid. In that year, the wind power supply was enough to meet the annual power needs of over 8.25 million homes in the UK. In September 2017, ScottishPower Renewables announced that its wind capacity had crossed the 2GW mark in the UK. However, a report published by London-based Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) showed that a subsidy ban on onshore wind energy could cost the UK £1bn over the next five years relative to other technologies.
France: According to the GWEC report, France’s installed wind power capacity stood at 12GW in 2016. The country aims to double its onshore wind power capacity from 2015 levels by 2023. While the country currently generates all of its wind power from onshore, the first offshore wind farm is expected to become operational in 2018.