Introduction - Emerging markets enter the mainstream

WORLDWIDE: On the face of it, 2011 was a good year for wind energy. The figures collected by our global network of correspondents reveal an annual installation of around 38GW wind-power capacity, achieving a new record high. Total installed capacity rose to around 230GW, a 20% growth on 2010's total.

Market status country-by-country

But a closer look at the data collated for Windpower Monthly's annual market review, covering 64 countries, shows a shift in geographical spread. A number of traditionally solid markets experienced a big slowdown in growth, notably Spain, Denmark and Germany.

China's total capacity grew to 54GW, after the country gained about the same in new capacity as in 2010, around 16GW. Despite the strong growth, China's market is experiencing problems amid tighter regulations to restrict the breakneck speed of development, which is outpacing the grid network.

The US performed well, installing 6.7GW, up from 5GW in 2010. The industry is racing to take advantage of the pivotal production tax credit before it is due to expire at the end of the year, around the same time as a presidential election will add to uncertainty.

Two markets performed exceptionally well in 2011. Brazil grew by 476MW to nearly 1.4GW, a growth of 53% from 2010's installed capacity. Romania, which at the beginning of 2010 totalled only 14MW, now stands at 982MW, over half of which was installed in 2011. Such performance should see these markets described as "mainstream" rather than "emerging".

Looking forward, Pakistan is targeting 1.5GW in the next two years — a striking ambition considering its current 6MW installed capacity.

Africa, too, could finally see some of its potential come to fruition, with wind winning 634MW in South Africa's first renewables tender and Kenya's 300MW Lake Turkana wind farm due to start construction imminently.

Meanwhile, offshore wind grew by 458MW to 3.3GW, mainly fuelled by the UK and China. Both these countries are eyeing significant growth in the near future and other countries are keen to play catch-up.
Some figures have been rounded. As a result, there may be minor discrepancies between the sum of a set of data and the overall stated total.