The global increase in wind power capacity for 2008 is likely to be around 24 GW, well over the 20 GW installed last year and maintaining the compound annual growth rate at around 27%. Turbine installation in China could be outstripping that in the US, but with the Chinese power grid yet to catch up with demand to hook up to it, exactly how much wind energy is reaching consumers is uncertain. At least 3 GW has been installed in China this year, however. We've moved it above India in our league table (right). Southeast Europe is also busy. Both Turkey and Bulgaria have surged up the ranks and others in the region and from further north will be joining them.
The big news of the past quarter is that the United States shot past 20 GW to become the country producing most wind energy. Although Germany still has more wind power capacity, weaker winds in the largely landlocked and more crowded country mean that turbines in the open landscapes of America are far more productive. Europe as a whole, however, despite its relatively restricted land area, still hosts three times the wind power generating capacity of the US. France is now a star performer, displacing Denmark from the third rung it has occupied since being deposed from first place by Germany more than a decade ago and from second place by Spain in 2001. For how long Europe will retain its big lead over America will partly depend on whether the US federal production tax credit for wind is extended beyond this year or not. As Windpower Monthly went to press, that remained an unknown.