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Development

The pace of wind power development in 2002 slackened for the first time in years, as expected. Provisionally, around 5500 MW was added to the global total in 2002, compared with 7000 MW in 2001, a fall in the annual growth rate from a colossal 38% for 2000-2001, to 22% for 2001-2002. The drop was predicted by market observers half a year ago (Windpower Monthly, July 2002). The compound annual growth rate remains at 28% over 12 years, still making wind the fastest growing energy sector. World wind capacity probably leapt the 30,000 MW milestone before New Year. See Windpower Monthly's April 2003 issue for a definitive 2002 tally, once all the figures are in.

The decline in last year's growth rate is mainly due to the maturing German market (it probably stagnated in 2002), a slower year in Spain and a quiet year in the US (only about 450 MW compared to nearly 1700 MW in 2001). The three, however, remain the strongest markets. The US is on course to add 2000 MW or more this year and could rival Germany for new megawatts in 2003. Spain, with grid expansion deals signed, is set for a good year too. Markets tipped for new growth -- Australia, UK, Canada and Norway -- are stirring; with the US and emerging markets they are expected to take up the slack from maturing markets. Near term, Denmark's repowering is looking robust. Offshore, Denmark and the UK are striding out, though expectations for the Netherlands were dashed by the political destruction of its wind market.

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