The worldwide wind capacity reached 392,927MW by the end of June 2015, out of which 21,678MW were added in the first six months of 2015. This increase is substantially higher than in the first half of 2014 and 2013, when 17.6GW and 13.9GW respectively were added. All wind turbines installed worldwide by mid-2015 can generate 4 per cent of the world’s electricity demand. The global wind capacity grew by 5.8 per cent within six months (after 5.6 per cent in the same period in 2014 and 4.9 per cent in 2013) and by 16.8 per cent on an annual basis (mid-2015 compared with mid-2014).
In comparison, the annual growth rate in 2014 was lower (16.5 per cent). Reasons for the relatively positive development of the worldwide wind markets are the economic advantages of wind power and its increasing competitiveness, uncertainties regarding the international oil and gas supply, and the pressing need to go for emission-free technologies in order to mitigate climate change and air pollution. The world market for wind power is booming like never before, and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) expects new record installations for the total year 2015. The main markets are still China, with an astonishing growth of more than 10GW within six months, the USA, Germany and India. Brazil showed the highest growth rate of all major markets; the country has increased its wind power capacity by 14 per cent since the beginning of this year. However, several of the European markets are now very flat, and also the largest European market, Germany, expects a major slowdown in the next one to two years, after the expected regulatory changes are in force.
Wind power to serve a quarter of Europe’s electricity demand by 2030
Wind power can meet a quarter of Europe’s electricity demand by 2030 if Member States deliver on climate and energy pledges, according to the latest forecasts by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Over the next 15 years, EWEA expects wind power installations in Europe to reach 320GW of capacity, which could serve 24.4 per cent of electricity demand across the region. Today, Europe’s 128.8GW can meet over 10 per cent of European power consumption in a normal wind year. With 254GW from onshore wind and 66GW coming from offshore installations, the European wind industry will provide up to 334,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030 in the most feasible scenario. However, the forecasts are contingent on a number of factors on the political and regulatory front including a clear governance structure for the EU-wide 27 per cent renewables target for 2030, which was agreed last year. Clear direction is needed from the European Commission to ensure that Member States propose robust national action plans for renewable energy and remain on track to meet the common target. The new scenario looks at both annual and cumulative installations (in megawatts) and includes a country-by-country breakdown for 2030, but not for intermediate years. The figures for EWEA’s 2030 capacity scenario were developed in cooperation with national associations across Europe and industry leaders.