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Solid growth in 2012 for wind energy

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its 2012 market statistics, showing continued expansion of the market, with annual market growth of almost 10%, and cumulative capacity growth of about 19%.
 
Both the Chinese and Indian markets slowed somewhat in 2012, with their annual installations coming in at 13.2 and 2.3GW respectively. Market consolidation and rationalisation in China, and a lapse in policy in India, were the main reasons, but these conditions are expected to be short-lived, and Asian dominance of global wind markets is expected to continue. In a last-minute rush caused by the anticipated expiration of the USA’s Production Tax Credit at the end of December, the US industry installed more than 8,000MW in the fourth quarter of 2012, ending up at 13,124MW for the year. The ‘13th hour’ extension of the tax credit means that although the US market will slow substantially in 2013, it is unlikely to be as much of a slowdown as was expected, and the nature of the extension bodes well for the 2013 market. Canada had a solid year, and Mexico more than doubled its installed capacity, installing 801MW for a total of 1,370MW, joining the list of countries (now 24) with more than 1,000MW of wind power capacity. European markets, led by Germany and the UK, with surprising contributions from ‘emerging markets’ in Sweden, Romania, Italy and Poland, accounted for 12.4GW in 2012. Europe also continued to lead offshore markets, with 1,166MW installed, more than 90% of the total offshore installations of 1,293MW in 2012. Brazil led an otherwise relatively quiet Latin America market with 1,077MW, to bring its total installed capacity to just over 2,500MW, and Australia accounted for all of the new installations in the Pacific region, with 358MW of new capacity in 2012 for a cumulative total of 2,584MW. The MENA region had another quiet year, with only one 50MW project completed in Tunisia, but sub-Saharan Africa’s first large commercial wind farm came on line in 2012, a 52MW project in Ethiopia. With construction started on 500+MW in South Africa, it is expected that Africa will be a substantial new market.
 
Thinking out of the box
We strive, as far as possible, to cover new and innovative technologies in our magazine. Regular readers are familiar with articles which at first sight look ‘crazy’ and unrealistic. Some people say these articles should not be published in a magazine like Windtech International. I clearly disagree with this. Although they might look ‘crazy’ and unrealistic, I believe it is important to give such new ideas a podium. For such a technology-oriented industry, the wind energy business is sometimes a fairly conservative industry; there is little ‘out of the box’ thinking and it may take a long time before new ideas are adopted industry wide. If only a small part of an idea triggers someone else to come up with a new, innovative solution that benefits the industry we reach our goal. Thinking out of the box is sometimes necessary to achieve great progress, and so we will continue to bring you such articles in the future.
 
Enjoy reading,
 
Floris Siteur
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