As we have often said in this column, counting wind turbines worldwide is not a precise art, especially since our metaphorical spotter in his helicopter had a hard job telling if a new wind plant was or was not feeding power to the grid on December 31, 2000. Spain is a case in point, with much debate about whether or not about 100 MW of new plant in Castile la Mancha was or was not turning before new year.
The world total for operating wind power plant at the start of 2001 was just over 17,700 MW, an addition during last year of 4250 MW. True to tradition the April Windicator attempts to pin down the end-of-year status rather than the usual quarterly total of operating wind. The capacity addition in 2000 compares with 3600 MW added in 1999 and 2250 added in 1998. Though the annual growth rate slowed last year, it remains comfortably above 30%. This year it could easily reach 40% and more. Of the single markets, Germany once again led, adding around 1670 MW, about 100 MW more than it added last year. Spain disappointed with under 900 MW (less than had been hoped for but grid congestion is making life difficult), while Denmark put on a last minute spurt before its long-standing guaranteed price system retired.