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Market status global wind power 2008

Nearly 20 GW of wind power capacity was installed in 2007, the highest volume achieved in a single year and 32% more than built in 2006. The net increase takes the world total to over 94 GW. Just five years ago, it was one-third of that at just over 31 GW, making the compound annual growth rate between then and now a little under 25%. For every three-and-a-bit years, world wind power capacity continues to double.

Once more, the United States put in the best annual performance, installing over 5350 MW in 2007, more than twice that achieved in 2006, and notching up a 45% increase in its cumulative wind power capacity. Spain came next, with 3500 MW, up 30%, followed by China, up by about 3450 MW, or an eyebrow-raising 130%. In percentage terms China was the star performer among the top ten markets, which played host to about 90% of the new installations last year. India and Germany followed China, each with around 1600 MW, though Germany had a nose in front. It still leads the world in total wind capacity, with over 22,000 MW, but that position is likely to be usurped by the US, if not this year then next. Other strong performances came from France, up 900 MW, or 61%, Italy, 600 MW, or 28%, the UK, up nearly 500 MW, or 24%, and Portugal, up 400 MW, or 25%.

With strong growth in North America and Asia, Europe's share of global wind capacity fell from about 66% to 61%, continuing a trend. European capacity increased by 8600 MW, 1000 MW more than last year, to over 57,000 MW. Asia jumped by 5000 MW, or 57%, and now contributes more than 14,000 MW.

Offshore wind capacity, all in Europe, has increased to over 1000 MW since the start of this year with Sweden and the Netherlands officially bringing big projects online that were unofficially feeding into the grid before the turn of the year. In Denmark, the Horns Rev wind farm demonstrated the good offshore resource by achieving a capacity factor of 47%, almost double the onshore average. Another 850 MW should be coming online off Europe's coasts this year, mainly in Britain but including Germany's first project.

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