Last year saw a fundamental shift in the global market for wind turbines, with North America for the first time installing more new wind capacity in a single year than achieved in Europe. The US and Canada look to have installed about 9 GW, or at least 3 GW more than in 2007, while Europe may fall more than 1 GW short of its 2007 score of 8.6 GW, depending on a potential adjustment to Spanish official figures. In Europe, a re-ordering of the top ten countries has occurred, with France, Italy and the UK all vying for the third place slot long occupied by Denmark, though they are still way behind market leaders Germany and Spain. France looks to be the European star performer for 2008 with a capacity increase of around 50%. Both India and China are approaching 10 GW, though just how much of the capacity is actually feeding power to the grid requires confirmation.
No official figures for installed wind megawatts in 2008 are yet available, but another record year has been achieved. Our count so far has turned up about 21.5 GW of wind plant as new online during 2008. If the pattern of past years is repeated, at least another 2 GW is waiting to be accounted for. That would bring total new capacity installed in 2008 to around 24 GW, compared with just short of 20 GW in 2007. We expect to see the end-year global wind capacity total -- so far logged at 115 GW -- to be about 117 GW, perhaps more. If so, the sector's growth rate will be close to the 27% realised in 2007.