World wind generation capacity more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006, and this capacity has doubled every three years. Worldwide there are now over two hundred thousand wind turbines operating, with a total capacity of 282,482 MW as of end 2012
According to a report titled “The Critical Decade: Global Action Building on Climate Change,” in 2012 global wind capacity increased by 21 percent.
China Wind power generation increased almost 50-fold between 2005 and 2012. The growth of Chinese wind power is unparalleled in the world. At the end of 2011, China accounted for 62 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity. It is estimated China has about 2,380 GW of exploitable capacity on land and 200 GW on the sea. China aims to “have 100 gigawatts (GW) of on-grid wind power generating capacity by the end of 2015 and to generate 190 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of wind power annually”. Researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030.
Led by Germany and Spain a total of 11,895 MW of wind power was installed in the EU in 2012 alone, representing 11.4 percent of new power capacity. A European Environment Agency report, entitled “Europe’s onshore and offshore wind energy potential,” confirms wind energy could power Europe many times over. The report highlights wind power’s potential in 2020 as three times greater than Europe’s expected electricity demand, rising to a factor of seven by 2030.
In the US, the cumulative installed capacity of wind power is more than 60,007 MW. The US Department of Energy’s report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030 envisioned that wind power could supply 20 percent of all US electricity, which includes a contribution of 4 percent from offshore wind power. The Obama administration is moving to increase support for offshore wind. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the generating potential of offshore wind equals the entire generating capacity of the US electric system.
With almost every country on earth investing in wind energy it can be expected to keep growing. Wind will continue to garner investors because it is a proven technology that is cost competitive.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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