Published: 02 February 2011 02 February 2011
Global wind power installations increased by 35.8 GW in 2010, according to figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council. This brings total installed wind energy capacity up to 194.4 GW, a 22.5% increase on the 158.7 GW installed at the end of 2009. The new capacity added in 2010 represents investments worth € 47.3 billion.
For the first time in 2010, more than half of all new wind power was added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America. This was mainly driven by the continuing boom in China, which accounted for nearly half the new wind installations (16.5 GW). But other developing countries also expanded their wind capacity, including India, which added 2.1 GW in 2010, Brazil (326 MW), Mexico (316 MW), and 213 MW were installed in North Africa (Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia).
Overall, however, the annual 2010 wind market was down for the first time in 20 years, shrinking by 7% from 38.6 GW in 2009, mainly due to a disappointing year in the US, as well as a slowdown in Europe. This was a result of the financial crisis, low levels of wind turbines orders working their way through the system, a depressed OECD electricity demand, as well as policy uncertainty in the US. The US, traditionally one of the strongest wind markets, saw its annual installations drop by 50% from 10 GW in 2009 to just over 5 GW in 2010. In Europe also, new installed capacity in 2010 (9.9 GW) was 7.5% down on 2009 (10.7 GW), despite a 50% growth of the offshore market in countries like the UK, Denmark and Belgium, and new developments in Eastern Europe, mainly in Romania, Bulgaria and Poland.