We recently reported that the United States managed to top the list for new wind power installations in 2012. In fact, 2012 was also a record-breaking year for worldwide wind power installations, with 44,000 megawatts installed and total capacity exceeding 280,000 megawatts. More than 80 countries now receive a portion of their electricity from wind power.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, China alone installed 13,000 megawatts of wind last year and for the first time, wind energy generation increased more than coal-fired electricity generation. The country is now responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s wind energy.
Here are a few interesting facts and numbers about wind power around the world in 2012:
- Some U.S. states have more installed wind capacity than entire countries. For example, Texas has 12,200 megawatts and California has 5,500 megawatts, ranking them sixth and eleventh on the global scale. Texas has 21,000 more megawatts under consideration, scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
- Wind farms generated a minimum of 10% of electricity in nine U.S. states in 2012, up from five states in 2011.
- Canada’s 6,500 megawatts of wind power are enough to power nearly 2 million households, and Ontario is working to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2014. For the first time, Ontario’s wind power provided more electricity than coal did in 2012.
- The European Union added more megawatts of wind power last year than natural gas, nuclear, or coal, even as clean energy incentives were cut.
- Four states in Germany now get about half of their electricity from wind.
- In Denmark, wind farms generated 30% of the country’s electricity, up from 28% in 2011. Denmark’s goal is now to reach 50% clean energy by 2020.
- Romania and Poland each added about 900 megawatts of wind power in 2012.
- India currently ranks fifth worldwide in wind capacity with more than 18,000 installed megawatts, and is the only big Asian wind market aside from China. India’s government will be spending about $8 billion on upgrades between now and 2017. Still, as many as 300 million people do not have access to the electricity grid.
- 100 megawatts of wind power were installed in Africa last year, in Tunisia and Ethiopia.
- Australia currently has 2,600 megawatts of wind power. The country’s goal is to obtain 20% of its electricity from clean sources by 2020.
Overall, it appears the world is certainly catching on to the power of wind and other renewable sources, and there is no sign that it will slow down anytime soon.
Image CC licensed by Vattenfall: Horns rev wind farm in Denmark