The overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2017 reached 539’291 Megawatt, according to preliminary statistics published by WWEA today. 52’552 Megawatt were added in the year 2017, slightly more than in 2016 when 51’402 Megawatt went online. This is the third largest number ever installed within one year, after the record years 2015 and 2014. However, the annual growth rate of only 10,8 % is the lowest growth ever since the industrial deployment of wind turbines started end of the 20th century.
All wind turbines installed by end of 2017 can cover more than 5% of the global electricity demand. For many countries, wind power has become a pillar in their strategies to phase out fossil and nuclear energy. In 2017, Denmark set a new world record with 43% of its power coming from wind. An increasing number of countries have reached a double-digit wind power share, including Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden or Uruguay.
The by far largest wind power market China installed an additional capacity of 19 Gigawatt, slightly less than in 2016, and continues its undisputed position as the world’s wind power leader, with a cumulated wind capacity of 188 Gigawatt. Together with an amazing deployment in solar power, the country is now well on its way of making renewable energy its main energy source.
Out of the leading markets, the US (6,8 Gigawatt added, reaching 89 Gigawatt in total), Germany (6,1 Gigawatt new, overall 56 Gigawatt), India (4,6 Gigawatt added, 32,9 Gigawatt total capacity) United Kingdom (3,3 Gigawatt new, 17,9 Gigawatt total), Brazil (2 Gigawatt new, 12,8 Gigawatt total) and France (1,7 Gigawatt new, 13,8 Gigawatt total) saw all very strong growth, very close to new record.
However, some of the major markets in particular in Europe faced stagnation, after all Spain and Portugal. At the same time, the new installation record in Germany and in some other European markets is rather the result of an anticipated market collapse, due to the switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions, which has been imposed by the European Commission and creates major difficulties in particular for small and medium sized investors, including community ownership.
Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General: “The general, robust growth of wind power around the world which goes hand in hand with further geographic diversification is very encouraging. New world regions such as Latin America and most recently also Africa are playing an important role in this dynamic development. Obviously many governments have understood that wind power brings great benefits to their societies, as it is emission-free, cheap, domestic and accessible and offers a very attractive pathway to achieving the Paris agreement. However, signs of weakness in particular in Europe are a matter of concern. The European Union and its member states should urgently reinforce their efforts to deploy wind power as part of an overall renewable energy strategy and to work out a roadmap for a 100% renewable energy future.”