Earth Day 2020: How fast the industry has grown

The current century has seen the wind industry move into the mainstream, becoming a legitimate source of electricity across the world. To celebrate Earth Day 2020, we want to show you how far the industry has come.

The chart shows the wind industry's progress in cumulative installed wind capacity between 2005 and 2020.

The 15 years of growth shown here, on top of the two decades previously, have also brought plunging costs, a wealth of jobs, and sparked and supported a host of new industries.

It took China until 2013 to reach 100GW of installed wind capacity, having installed less than 1.5GW in 2005. It only took another five years to add another 100GW.

Earth Day 2020 — now in its 50th year —  is an opportunity to celebrate the successes. However, it also highlights how far society still has to go to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Renewables contributed 26% of global electricity generation in 2018, according to the IEA. Clearly much more needs to be done. 

“Despite that amazing success and decades of environmental progress, we find ourselves facing an even more dire, almost existential, set of global environmental challenges, from loss of biodiversity to climate change to plastic pollution, that call for action at all levels of government,” said Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970 and Earth Day Network’s board chair emeritus.

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