8 April 2013 – Across the world 44,000 MW of new wind capacity was installed during 2012, taking total global capacity to over 280,000 MW. China alone installed some 13,000 MW of wind capacity in 2012, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
At the moment China is the world leader in terms of installed wind capacity with a total of 75,000 MW. Some projections see China reaching an installed wind capacity of 140,000 MW by 2015 and 250,000 MW by 2020.
The US saw 13,100 MW of wind capacity added in 2012 and the US is second only to China in terms of installed capacity, this totalling 60,000 MW. The country with the third highest installed wind capacity is Germany with 30,000 MW. India is ranked fifth with 18,000 MW.
However, only 100 MW of wind capacity was installed in Africa in 2012, split between Ethiopia and Tunisia. Kenya’s long-awaited 310 MW Lake Turkana wind farm, which could generate more than 10% of that country’s electricity, has suffered multiple setbacks but may begin construction in 2013.
Most of the world’s installed wind capacity is land-based, with only 2% (5,400 MW) having been built offshore. Recently, however, offshore development has accelerated, more than tripling over the last five years.
However, the growth in global wind capacity is anticipated to slow in 2013 with only some 40,000 MW being added. This would be the first instance in at least 17 years when annual additions did not increase year-on-year. Much of this deceleration will likely be the result of a slowdown in US development. The annual wind market is expected to rebound in 2014 however as costs continue to fall, as major players recover, and as newcomers in Africa, the Middle East, and the Baltic region begin to realise their wind ambitions.