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Taking stock

This special issue of Windpower Monthly is the ninth in an annual series of global wind market status reports. At the start of the series in 2000, global wind power had just burst through the 10 GW barrier, with the industry installing more than 3.5 GW in a single year to reach the giddy heights of 13.5 GW of operational capacity. At the time it seemed like a massive achievement. Our status reports in that issue filled 12 pages and covered the grand total of 14 national markets.

In comparison, this issue is a monster. No less than 46 pages are devoted to covering 47 countries with more or less active markets for wind power. Even then we do not profess to have covered every last aspiring wind nation, though over 99% of the world's capacity is taken care of. Individual countries are now installing more wind capacity in a year than the entire world could manage less than a decade ago. In coming weeks the industry will push past a truly major milestone -- 100 GW of global wind power generating capacity. Even then it will be barely scratching the surface of its potential.

The purpose of the market status reports is not just to sum up the past year, but also to provide an overview of what is to come. As a news publication we are not bound by rigid research formulas, but can flexibly follow the major trends, keeping readers at the cutting edge of developments. We bring you the advantages of local market knowledge from correspondents working on the ground, tempered by the expertise that nearly a quarter of a century of in-depth reporting on the sector provides.

If one single theme shines through, both over time and in this issue's status reports, it is the importance of political will. Legislation does not even have to be fully in place to stir a market, provided investors are confident they know in which direction our leaders are taking us. Barely a status report in this issue fails to mention either the UN's climate change policy for emissions reductions or the European Union's goals for renewable energy. Even in the United States, as our top story this month reveals (page 27), investment is being at least partly driven by the belief that wind power is an idea whose time has come and politicians will act on that premise.

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