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Development from the Windicator

For the first time in many years, the volume of wind power built last year is likely to be less than in the previous year. The end year figures are only just beginning to show, but the tally so far is 6800 MW. More will turn up, but not enough for the 2004 total to match 2003's record 8200 MW. It will probably be around 7500 MW. Although development in the first half of the year was mirroring that in 2003, the traditional end-of-year rush in northern Europe, particularly Germany, seems to be missing. That will bring the global percentage increase to a little under 20% for 2004, compared with 26% the previous year. The compound annual growth rate measured over the last five years is still around 30%, similar to the ten year figure.

The star performers last year were, as usual, Spain and Germany with about 1800 MW each so far. Spain's capacity rose by 29% and Germany's by 13%. Spain put another milestone behind it with installed national wind capacity topping that of nuclear at 7606 MW. Industry estimates project that wind is now meeting 6.5% of total electricity requirements in Spain, covering 20% of the near 6% growth in demand. Other impressive performers in Europe were Austria (up 41%), Portugal (up 37%) and the UK (up 34%). Overall wind capacity in Europe rose by 17%.

Elsewhere there were no spectacular performances, but capacity in Australia rose by 29%, with the promise of more to come and India is coming on strong, with what looks like an increase of more than 30%. In the United States, almost an entire year without a PTC meant capacity rising just 7%.

Although weaker performances from America and Germany -- and a complete standstill in Denmark -- are depressing the overall capacity increase, it has still doubled every three years. Even if the growth rate sticks at 20% (unlikely in 2005 which is set to beat all records), that it is a doubling of capacity every four years. No reason for gloom.

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