- Published: 07 March 2019 07 March 2019
Wind power capacity worldwide reaches 600GW in 2018
The annual on- and offshore WindEurope Conference & Exhibition will take place in Bilbao, Spain, from 2 to 4 April 2019. Prospects for wind in Spain are looking bright again compared with the situation in 2014, which was the last time the show was organised in Spain (Barcelona). The government has plans to build more than 4GW of onshore wind by 2020 and 2.5GW per year up to 2030. The government also has plans for floating offshore wind. The Spanish wind supply chain currently employs around 22,000 people, and many of these are in the Bilbao area in northern Spain, which makes this location a logical choice.
On a global scale, wind energy is on the rise. In 2018, wind power capacity worldwide reached 600GW in 2018 according to preliminary statistics published by the World Wind Energy Association. 53,900MW were added in the year 2018, which is slightly more than in 2017 when 52,552MW were installed. 2018 was the second year in a row with a growing number of new installations but at a lower rate of 9.8%, after 10.8% growth in 2017. All the wind turbines installed by the end of 2018 can cover close to 6% of the global electricity demand.
Meanwhile, the European wind markets were on a decline, with most European states showing weak development, including Germany, Spain, France and Italy. At the same time, robust or even stronger growth has been observed in countries such as China, India, Brazil, many other Asian markets and also some African countries.
The by far largest wind power market, China, installed an additional capacity of 25.9GW and has become the first country with an installed wind power capacity of more than 200GW. It has retaken the growth path after a not-so-strong year in 2017 when a comparatively modest 19GW were installed. China continues its undisputed position as the world’s wind power leader, with an accumulated wind capacity of 221GW.
The second largest market, the USA, saw an increase in new capacity from 6.7GW in 2017 to 7.6GW in 2018, in spite of less ambitious national climate and energy targets. This positive development is certainly not only a result of the economics of wind power, but also of strong and comprehensive support at the state and municipal level.
Out of the leading markets, the USA (7.6GW added, reaching 96GW in total), Germany (3.1GW new, overall 59GW), India (2.1GW added, 35GW total), the UK (2.9GW new, 20.7GW total), Brazil (1.7GW new, 14.5GW total) and France (1.5GW new, 15.3GW total) all saw substantial growth. In some cases this was well above the previous year, while in other cases it was well below.
Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and it is expected that 55GW or more will be added each year until 2023. In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7–8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.
To conclude, the wind energy business is currently doing well and the coming years look promising too. Of course the team from Windtech International will be in Bilbao for WindEurope’s annual event and there will be a report about it in a later issue. I hope to see many of you in Bilbao.