Wind Power Leads All New Power Generation
Big Markets dominate in 2015
2015 was an unprecedented year for the wind industry as annual installations crossed the 60 GW mark for the first time in history. More than 63 GW of new wind power capacity was brought on line. The last record was set in 2014 when over 51.7 GW of new capacity was installed globally.
In 2015 total investments in the clean energy sector reached a record USD 329bn (EUR 296.6bn). 2015 figures were up 4 percent from 2014’s investment of USD 316bn (EUR 238.1bn) and beating the previous record, set in 2011 by 3 percent.
The new global total at the end of 2015 was 432.9 GW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 17 percent. This growth was powered by an astonishing new installations figure of 30,753 MW in China; the global wind power industry installed 63,467 MW in 2015, representing annual market growth of 22 percent.
In early 2015, expectations for growth in the wind power market were not excessive, as continued economic slowdown in Europe and some emerging markets, and the political uncertainty in the US made it complex to make projections for 2015, which we called at 53.5 GW. Apparently, once again we were not factoring in the ability of China to surpass all projections with exceptional wind power development numbers.
China, the largest overall market for wind power since 2009, retained the top spot in 2015. True to form, installations in Asia again led global markets, with Europe in the second spot, and North America closing the gap with Europe, in third place.
A result of this was that in 2015, as in 2014 and in 2013, the majority of wind installations globally were outside the OECD once again. This has been the case since 2010, with the exception of 2012. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
By the end of last year the number of countries with more than 1,000 MW installed capacity was 26: including 17 in Europe; 4 in Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan & Australia); 3 in North America (Canada, Mexico, US), 1 in Latin America (Brazil) and 1 in Africa (South Africa).
By the end of last year eight countries had more than 10,000 MW of installed capacity including China (145,362 MW), the US (74,471 MW), Germany (44,947 MW), India (25,088 MW), Spain (23,025 MW), UK (13,063 MW), Canada (11,205 MW), and France (10,358 MW).
China crossed the 100,000 MW mark in 2014, adding another milestone to its already exceptional history of renewable energy development since 2005. This year it made history again and strengthened its position on the leaderboard.
Europe and North America both had strong years in 2015, led by German and the US respectively. Guatemala and Jordan each added their first large commercial wind farms, and South Africa became the first African market to pass the 1 GW mark.