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Wind market global status 2007

Global wind power capacity increased by a little over 15,000 MW in 2006, setting another annual installation record for the industry. The increase was 29% higher than in 2005 and takes global capacity to more than 74,300 MW, a little short of the 75,000 MW predicted. Just five years ago the total was 24,600 MW, making the compound annual growth rate between now and then close to 25%. Capacity has nearly doubled every three years.

The star performers in 2006 were the United States, which added over 2500 MW, Germany (2200 MW), India (1800 MW), Spain (1600 MW) and China (1300 MW), giving increases of 106% in China, 41% in India, 28% in the US, 16% in Spain and 12% in Germany. Aside from these, the growth markets of note were France (100%), the UK (46%), Portugal (68%) Poland (252%) and Greece (30%) in western Europe, with Turkey (168%) heading up the new markets to the east.

Europe still accounts for nearly two-thirds of global capacity and increased its contribution to nearly 48,500 MW -- up more than 7500 MW during the year (18%). The North American continent comes second, with 13,200 MW, having grown by 33% during the year. Asia now accounts for 9000 MW, up 56%. The South American market is at last on the move, at least in Brazil, which added over 200 MW.

The indications are strong that a 25% global growth rate will also be delivered in 2007. If so, the number of megawatts installed will increase to around 18,000 MW, taking the world total to over 92,000 MW. Most of this year's growth markets are likely to continue turning in star performances.

Worldwide, true offshore capacity is now about 830 MW. Huge volumes of offshore wind megawatts are in the pipeline, but growth will be modest in 2007 and restricted to the UK and Sweden. The long promised offshore surge in Germany is not now expected until the end of the decade, possibly later. Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium also have live projects, while Ireland, Canada, Spain, France, Japan and the US are working on getting to that stage. Once offshore wind development take off, progress could be rapid, conditional on the availability of the specialist installation equipment required.

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