For the third year running, the United States put in the best annual performance, installing over 8 GW in 2008, a more than 50% increase on its 2007 achievement and a 50% hike in total wind power capacity. China came next, installing almost 6.3 GW, doubling its capacity for the second year running, followed by India installing 1.8 GW and overtaking Germany (1.66 GW) and Spain (1.6 GW). In terms of market growth, China again led the world's top ten markets, increasing its capacity by 106%. Other strong performances came from France, up by over 1 GW, or 43%, Italy, 1 GW, or 40%, the UK, 909 MW, or 56%, and Portugal, up 400 MW, or 25%. Ireland and Sweden joined the gigawatt club, which now has 16 members, both with growth rates of around 30%.
As expected, the US at 25 GW overtook Germany (23.9 GW) to become the country with the most wind capacity, followed by Spain (16.7 GW) and China (12.2 GW). Europe still accounts for over 50% of world capacity, although less this year (55%) than last (61%). The European growth of 15% was well below the global figure of just under 29%. Asia's growth was 57%, lifting capacity to over 22 GW, or 18% of the world total. Per head of population, Denmark still leads the world with 600 watts per head, followed by Spain with 424 and Germany, Portugal and Ireland, all with about 290 watts per head.
Offshore wind capacity, all in Europe, grew by more than one-third to 1400 MW, less than expected, with Britain in front ahead of Denmark. The Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium are active in the sector too, while Germany's grand plans have yet to take off.