In 2012, wind power capacity grew by almost 20% around the world, reaching a new height of 282 gigawatts of total installed capacity. More than 45 gigawatts of new turbines appeared last year, with China and the United States taking the lead with a substantial 13 gigawatts each.
The UK is currently in sixth place, with 8.5 gigawatts of installed wind power. Germany has 31 gigawatts overall and Spain has 23 gigawatts, which is still significantly less than Chinaâ€™s 77 gigawatts and the U.S.â€™ 60 gigawatts.
The threat of an end to tax credits played a big role in the amount of installations in the United States, with 8 of 13 gigawatts installed in the last 3 months of 2012. Fortunately the tax credit has been extended, meaning 2013 will likely see new growth as well. The Global Wind Energy Council says Europeâ€™s outlook is still uncertain due to the debt crisis, but that renewable energy goals provide a sense of security that the market will continue to grow.
Even parts of Africa have seen a surge in wind energy. In Ethiopia, a 52 megawatt wind project came online last year, with construction underway for additional projects that will hopefully provide a surge in economic development.
Low-carbon energy has continued to grow, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), but unfortunately, state subsidies are still higher for fossil fuels – six times higher, actually. It will take some serious coaxing to start flipping those numbers, but if President Obama decides to make good on his ongoing clean energy rhetoric, we could start to see a redistribution of funds. What do you think?
Image CC licensed by Andreas Klinke Johannsen: Windfarm outside Copenhagen, Denmark