27 April 2017

Global wind power capacity to surpass 800 GW by 2021

A new report issued by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) details more than 54 gigawatts (GW) of wind power were installed in 2016, with total capacity expected to reach over 800 GW by 2021.

Released on Tuesday 25 April, the GWEC's “Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update” reports that cumulative capacity grew by more than 12 per cent last year, to reach 486.8 GW.

The 54 GW installed in 2016 was spread across 90 countries, of which nine have now surpassed the 10 GW milestone and 29 the 1 GW mark.

Growth in the wind sector was largely driven by Asian economies, most notably China, India – according to the report, with China adding 23 GW in 2016.

Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC, said: “Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future.”

He went on to say: "We are well into a period of disruptive change, moving away from power systems centred on a few large, polluting plants towards markets increasingly dominated by a range of widely distributed renewable energy sources."

GWEC’s rolling five year forecast sees nearly 60 GW of new wind installations this year, rising to an annual market of about 75 GW by 2021 – bringing cumulative installed capacity to over 800 GW by the end of 2021.

The report also projects that Africa is set to have a "big year in 2017", led by Kenya, South Africa and Morocco – while the Australian market will "come roaring back with a pipeline of projects" to be built over the next few years.

Sawyer said: “Offshore wind has had a major price breakthrough in the past year, and looks set to live up to the enormous potential that many have believed in for years. We see the technology continuing to improve and spread beyond its home base in Europe in the next 5-10 years.”

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