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Record Numbers for 2008

Wind energy has continued its worldwide success story as the most dynamically growing energy source again in the year 2008. The USA passed Germany to become world number one in wind power installations, and China's total capacity doubled for the fourth year in a row. Total worldwide installations in 2008 were more than 27,000MW, dominated by the three main markets in Europe, North America and Asia. Global wind energy capacity grew by almost 29% last year, even higher than the average over the past decade, to reach total global installations of close to 121GW at the end of 2008. In 2008, more wind power was installed in the European Union than any other electricity generating technology. Statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) show that 43% of all new electricity generating capacity built in the EU last year was wind energy, exceeding all other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power. The turnover in 2008 of the global wind industry reached € 40 billion.
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}With the credit crunch in mind there might be a slowdown in 2009 but it is expected that wind energy will continue its growth rate in the coming years. In the mid term wind energy investments might even be more attractive for investors due to their low risk character and the need for clean and reliable energy sources.

This growth is also noticeable in product development. Although at the moment manufacturers try to allocate their capacity as efficiently as possible and look closely at the costs and investments, they have to invest in product development to be prepared for the future. The trend of the development of bigger turbines is still going on. Last December, Clipper Wind announced that it will increase the capacity of the Britannia which the company is currently developing from 7.5MW to 10MW.

And, just recently, American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) announced that it will validate the economics of a full 10MW class wind turbine, which will include a direct drive superconductor generator, in cooperation with the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The programmes are intended to serve as a prelude to follow-on programmes aimed at building and testing a full-scale prototype superconductor wind turbine, prior to commercialisation. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project.

All in all, I believe our industry is not in great trouble and foresee a bright future.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
Publisher
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