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Development

Fine tuning of our end-2002 total for world wind power capacity brings it to 31,234 MW, confirming a growth of 27% in 2002. According to the American and European Wind Energy Associations (AWEA and EWEA) technology installed last year was worth EUR 6.8 billion ($7.3 billion) and is powering the equivalent of 7.5 million average American homes or 16 million European homes (Americans use more electricity than Europeans). Over the past five years, cumulative world wind power has quadrupled, increasing annually by an average 32%. In Europe, 2% of electricity consumption is now met by wind. EWEA and AWEA are predicting a global market worth EUR 25 billion a year by 2010.

Germany was still the star performer in 2002, increasing its installed capacity by 37%, slightly less than in the previous year. The largest percentage increase among the wind heavyweights was scored by Spain, with a 45% jump. Although activity in the United States accelerated, the increase was a modest 10% -- still described as a "good performance" by AWEA in view of the stop-go nature of US wind energy policy. Elsewhere in Europe, steady progress was recorded in Italy and the Netherlands, which surged well past the United Kingdom, with whom it had been neck-and-neck for some time. That situation could well be reversed this year, as the UK comes out of the doldrums, partly as a result of the Renewables Obligation, partly due to some of the planning bottlenecks being removed.

In the Far East, Japan recorded a 28% increase, albeit from a fairly modest base and there was steady progress in India (which ranks fifth in the world) and China. As our annual markets survey last month revealed, there is a lot of interest in South America and Australia, some likely to be translated into megawatts in the coming year. We still tip Australia as an up-and-coming market in the short term.

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