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Wind power capacity worldwide reaches 539GW

The overall capacity of wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2017 reached 539,291MW, according to preliminary statistics published by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). 52,552MW were added in 2017, slightly more than in 2016 when 51,402MW went online. This is the third largest capacity ever installed within one year, and follows the record years 2015 and 2014. However, the annual growth rate of 10.8% is the lowest since the industrial deployment of wind turbines started at the end of the 20th century.

The wind turbines installed by the end of 2017 cover more than 5% of global electricity demand. For many countries, wind power has become a pillar in their strategies to phase out fossil and nuclear energy. In 2017, Denmark set a new world record with 43% of its power coming from wind. An increasing number of countries have reached a double-digit wind power share, including Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay.

China is by far the largest wind power market in the world and in 2017 it installed additional capacity of 19GW, slightly less than in 2016, and it continues its undisputed position as the world’s wind power leader, with a cumulated wind capacity of 188GW. Out of the leading markets, the USA (6.8GW new, 89GW total), Germany (6.1GW new, 56GW total), India (4.6GW new, 32.9GW total), the UK (3.3GW new, 17.9GW total), Brazil (2GW new, 12.8GW total) and France (1.7GW new, 13.8GW total) all saw very strong growth.

Every year the WWEA organises, together with a local association, the World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC). The event travels all over the world and is also held in countries with upcoming and emerging markets. This makes the event unique compared with others, which are mostly held in mature, established and more commercially interesting markets. One of the main objectives of the WWECs is to establish a dialogue between relevant decision makers in the public and private sectors.

This year WWEC2018 will take place in Pakistan. It was originally scheduled to be held in Karachi on 5–7 April but has been postponed to 28–30 November 2018.

Pakistan is an interesting wind market. However, some recent developments may make it difficult to fully achieve some of the main objectives of the conference. The national elections originally scheduled for July may now take place in June or even May. This means that the political situation is unstable and rapidly changing.

The general political situation is expected to be clear again in late autumn and the WWEA will aim to make sure that the impact of WWEC2018 will be as strong and sustainable as they want it to be. Preparation will continue following the original plan and they expect to publish the conference programme in early summer. More information can be found at

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur

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