Up to date overview of wind power market development from the Windicator

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Wind power development is trucking like never before. Three months into 2006 and the global total has already passed 60,000 MW. In our first quarter Windicator report, however, Windpower Monthly focuses on the annual figures for 2005, not the current total. As reported in detail in our Global Wind Market Status issue last month, global wind power capacity increased by nearly 12,000 MW in 2005, the highest annual volume yet seen, bringing the world total to more than 59,000 MW. Two-thirds of that is in Europe, which still led the world, installing more than 6200 MW. But European growth is slowing: its annual growth rate for 2005 is 18%, compared with 24% for the world. North America recorded an impressive growth of 37%, installing more than 2600 MW in 2005. Asian growth, from a smaller base, was over 2000 MW, or 57%, while around 600 MW was added in the Pacific region, 40% growth, mainly thanks to Australia and Japan.

Major league countries installing more than 1000 MW in 2005 were the US at 2400 MW, Germany at 1800 MW, Spain at 1765 MW and India just short of 1500 MW. But while Germany's increase was only 11%, Spain proved itself a consistent performer at 21% and India's was 49%. The top four are followed by six countries installing 350-500 MW a year headed by Portugal (96% growth) and followed by China (65%), Italy (36%), the UK (50%), France (97%) and Australia (96%). They are followed by eight countries that each installed more than 100 MW, four of them European. All eight are traditional markets with the exception of South Korea, which has shot from nowhere to 100 MW. Of these 18 top countries, ten had growth rates of around 50% or higher. The increasing number of stable markets will have a beneficial effect on the industry's erratic growth rates of the past.

Projects lined up for 2006 suggest another record breaking year: 14,000 MW is on the cards. Looking ahead, a just released report from Germany's Deutsches Wind Energie-Institut predicts global wind capacity at 132 GW by 2010 -- a 120% increase in just five years -- and 200 GW by 2015. Even that may be conservative, given that wind capacity doubled every three years from 1990 to 2005 -- and nearly all earlier growth estimates have been exceeded.

Offshore wind energy closed the year at about 670 MW, of which 400 MW is in Denmark and 200 MW in the UK. The only increase in 2005 was 90 MW in Britain. Other countries with offshore capacity are Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland, while those with offshore plans are Germany, Norway, Finland, Spain, France, China, Japan, Canada and the United States. In Europe there are about 10,000 MW of offshore projects at various stages of the consenting process.

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