|Wind Energy Gathers Steam, US Biggest Market: Survey|
February 2, 2009
Global wind energy capacity surged by 28.8 percent in 2008,
as the United States became the world's leading market, an industry survey showed Monday.
The Global Wind Energy Council said the US and China showed the strongest growth
in wind energy as the global electric-generating capacity rose to 120.8
gigawatts at the end of 2008.
"These figures speak for themselves: there is huge and growing global demand for
emissions-free wind power, which can be installed quickly, virtually everywhere
in the world," said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.
"Wind energy is the only power-generation technology that can deliver the
necessary cuts in carbon dioxide."
The United States accounted for 8.35 gigwatts of the new total capacity,
increasing its capacity by 50 percent, to overtake Germany as number one in wind
power, with a total of 25.1 gigawatts compared to 23.9 gigawatts.
Germany however gets a much higher percentage of its electricity from wind
power, according to industry figures.
The council said the global wind market for turbine installations in 2008 was
worth about 47.5 billion dollars (36.5 billion euros).
"Wind power is often the most attractive option for new power generation in both
economic terms and in terms of increasing energy security, not to mention the
environmental and economic development benefits, said GWEC chairman Arthouros Zervos.
"Volatile fossil fuel prices and unreliable supply policies from fossil
fuel-rich countries increase the risk of relying on conventional sources for
Wind power accounted for about 42 percent of the new power capacity last year in
the United States and one-third in Asia.
China doubled its installed capacity by adding about 6.3 gigawatts, reaching a
total of 12.2 gigawatts.
"The Chinese wind energy market is going from strength to strength, and has once
again doubled in size compared to 2007, reaching over 12 GW of total installed
capacity," said Shi Pengfei, vice president of the Chinese Wind Energy
Association. "The outlook for the coming years is also very healthy."
At this rate, China would be well on its way to overtake Germany and Spain to
reach second place in terms of total wind power capacity in 2010, the council said.
In Europe, almost 8.9 gigwatts' worth of new wind turbines came online in 2008,
the biggest source of new power capacity, with the biggest growth in Germany,
Spain, Italy, France and Britain.
"The European figures show that wind energy is the undisputed number one choice
in Europe's efforts to move towards clean, indigenous renewable power", said
Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association.