Asia to lead thriving global wind industry for years to come

April 19, 2012
India an emerging wind power

Asia is again predicted to drive the wind power industry which is expected to top 46-GW globally in 2012, according to a five-year industry forecast released this week by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The Brussels-based international trade association said in its annual market update report that by 2016 total global wind power capacity will be just under 500 GW, with an annual market in that year of about 60-GW.

Overall, GWEC projects average annual market growth rates of about 8 percent for the next five years, but with a strong 2012 and a substantial dip in 2013. Total installations for the 2012-2016 period are expected to reach 255-GW, with cumulative market growth averaging just under 16 percent.

“For the next five years, annual market growth will be driven primarily by India and Brazil, with significant contributions from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

For the second year running, the majority of new installations were outside the OECD and this trend will no doubt continue. Asia will continue to be the world’s largest market with far more new installations than any other region, installing 118-GW between now and 2016, and surpassing Europe as the world leader in cumulative installed capacity sometime during 2013, ending the period with about 200-GW in total.

After nearly a decade of double and triple digit growth, the Chinese market has finally stabilized, and will remain roughly at current levels for the next few years.

Having achieved a 3-GW market for the first time in 2011, the annual market in India is expected to reach 5-GW by 2015.

The future of Japan’s energy system with the wide-spread rejection of nuclear power after last year’s Fukushima disaster gives hope for a new beginning for the wind industry in Japan.

The European market remains stable, and given the EU’s clear policy framework and targets out to 2020, there are unlikely to be many major surprises while the GWEC expects the North American market to have a strong 2012, as both Canada and Mexico will install well over 1,000-MW to complement what is expected to be a strong year in the US, which began the year with more than 8-GW under construction.