Market Status Reports: Global wind power booms

The global wind sector upset the economic odds yet again in 2009, adding nearly 36GW of capacity. That was 33% more than the capacity installed in 2008 and has boosted the world's total installed capacity by 30% to nearly 157GW.

Only one year after the 100GW milestone was surpassed, the 150GW threshold has been breached.

China grabbed the limelight in 2009 with about 12GW of new wind, more than any other country. That about doubles its 2008 addition and gives the country the third-largest total wind capacity, behind the US and Germany. The US was the runner-up in terms of new capacity, with almost 9.5GW installed in 2009, lifting its total to 35.2GW.

Spain led in European additions, with about 2.5GW of new wind, buoying total capacity to 19.1GW. Rates of growth in Turkey, Morocco, Mexico and Brazil were notable, although total capacities in those countries remain far below those of the leading nations.

In the EU, more new wind power capacity was built in 2009 than any other form of electricity generation technology, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Wind represented nearly 40% of all new capacity, followed by gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (16%). It was the second consecutive year that more wind was installed than any other type of power plant.



In the US, record additions in 2009 put wind in a dead heat with natural gas as leading sources of new capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Combined, the two sources account for about 80% of new capacity added last year.

Meantime, there were enormous strides in offshore wind. EU countriesinstalled 577MW offshore in 2009, an increase in the build rate of 54% from the previous year, according to EWEA. Another 1GW is expected this year. In China, construction was to wrap up last month at a 102MW project in the waters off Shanghai, the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm. Plans for another 100MW offshore wind farm are under review.

For reasons of simplicity, some figures have been rounded.

As a result, some figures may not add up exactly to overall totals.

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