Global wind installations up 19% in 2019

Global wind power installations increased by almost a fifth to 60.4GW in 2019 -- the second-highest annual total on record.

China remains the world's top wind power market (pic: Goldwind)
China remains the world's top wind power market (pic: Goldwind)

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The main driver of this growth was market-based mechanisms, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) stated. Auctioned capacity accounted for more than 40GW of new installations in 2019 — double the contribution from tenders in 2018.

Cumulative global capacity reached 651GW by the end of 2019 — a 10% increase from a year ago. 

However, GWEC warned the new additions were insufficient for combating climate change.

“If we are to have any chance at reaching our Paris Agreement objectives and remaining on a 1.5°C pathway, we need to be installing at least 100GW of wind energy annually over the next decade, and this needs to rise to 200GW annually post-2030 and beyond,” GWEC CEO, Ben Backwell, said.

 “To do this, we need to look past competitive LCOE (levelised cost of energy) alone and ensure that regulation and market design is fit for purpose to support an accelerated rate of wind power installations. 

“This will mean stronger measures to push incumbent fossil fuels off the grid and a shake-up of administrative structures and regulation to ensure we can go out and build.”

Concentration

Both new installations and total capacity are concentrated in a handful of markets.

China and the US accounted for more than 60% of 2019 additions, while the top five growth markets last year — completed by the UK, India, and Spain — made up 70% of new capacity.

Meanwhile, the top five markets for cumulative capacity — China, the US, Germany, India, and Spain — accounted for 73% of total installations by the end of 2019.

Asia Pacific led the way for new onshore installations last year, with its combined 28.1GW being more than half of new capacity.

Meanwhile, strong growth in Spain, Sweden, and Greece offset Germany’s ongoing slump to boost Europe’s total by 30% year on year.

GWEC said there was moderate growth in emerging markets, but Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and south-east Asia still only installed 4.5GW combined.

A record 6.1GW of new offshore wind capacity was added in 2019 — 10.1% of the global total — led by China (2.3GW), the UK (1.76GW) and Germany (1.11GW).

Coronavirus

GWEC had forecast a record 76GW of new capacity for 2020 but plans to revise this figure and its projections through to 2024, as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts supply chains and project execution.

It believes the full impact of Covid-19 on wind power growth is still unknown, but will continue to monitor the situation closely, the industry body stated.

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