China with more than 200 GW, USA close to 100 GW, Europe in decline
The overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2018 reached 600 Gigawatt, according to preliminary statistics published by WWEA today. 53’900 Megawatt were added in the year 2018, slightly more than in 2017 when 52’552 Megawatt were installed. 2018 was the second year in a row with growing number of new installations but at a lower rate of 9,8%, after 10,8% growth in 2017. All wind turbines installed by end of 2018 can cover close to 6% of the global electricity demand.
The year 2018 was mainly characterised by new dynamics: While the European wind markets were on a decline, with most European states showing weak development, including Germany, Spain, France and Italy. At the same time, robust or even stronger growth has been observed in countries such as China, India, Brazil, many other Asian markets and also some African countries.
The by far largest wind power market, China, installed an additional capacity of 25,9 Gigawatt and has become the first country with an installed wind power capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt. It has re-taken the growth path after a no-so-strong year in 2017 when a comparatively modest 19 Gigawatt were installed. China continues its undisputed position as the world’s wind power leader, with an accumulated wind capacity of 221 Gigawatt.
The second largest market, the USA, saw an increase in new capacity from 6,7 Gigawatt in 2017 to 7,6 Gigawatt in 2018, in spite of less ambitious national climate and energy targets. This positive development is certainly not only a result of the economics of wind power, but also of strong and comprehensive support on the state and municipal level. Soon, the US will be the second country after China reaching an installed capacity of more than 100 Gigawatt.
Out of the leading markets, the US (7,6 Gigawatt added, reaching 96 Gigawatt in total), Germany (3,1 Gigawatt new, overall 59 Gigawatt), India (2,1 Gigawatt added*, 35 Gigawatt total capacity*) United Kingdom (2,9 Gigawatt new, 20,7 Gigawatt total), Brazil (1,7 Gigawatt new*, 14,5 Gigawatt total*) and France (1,5 Gigawatt new, 15,3 Gigawatt total) all saw substantial growth, although in some cases well above, in others well below the previous year.
Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General: “The global transformation of the energy system towards renewable energy is on its way, and wind power is a major force in this development, having become a major pillar of power supply throughout the world. Some countries are making very good progress in accelerating wind power deployment rates. Such acceleration is imperative not only to achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Change agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, but also for every country to participate in the full socio-economic advantages of renewable energy.
In this sense, it is very unfortunate that Europe seems to lose track in terms of new wind power installations. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that Europe seems to understand the importance of citizens-based approaches by giving special attention to prosumer and community power models. Given the increasing importance of power generation also for the transportation and heating/cooling sectors, models supporting self-consumption of renewable energy and empowering citizens and communities should be promoted everywhere around the world. Citizens in industrialised and developing countries alike will tremendously benefit from such political programmes.”
- Link to statistics and corresponding graphs: https://library.wwindea.org