14
FEB

Wind power capacity grew 20% globally in 2012, figures show

Wind power expanded by almost 20% in 2012 around the world to reach a new peak of 282 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, while solar power reached more than 100GW, having more than doubled in two years.

More than 45GW of new wind turbines arrived in 2012, with China and the US leading the way with 13GW each, while Germany, India and the UK were next with about 2GW apiece.

"While China paused for breath, both the US and European markets had exceptionally strong years," said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which produced the statistics. "Asia still led global markets, but with North America a close second, and Europe not far behind."

The UK is by far the world leader in offshore wind deployment, installing 0.85MW in 2012 to bring the total so far to 3GW. Denmark has a total of 0.9GW installed; Belgium is ranked third with 0.4GW.

"We are pleased to be part of this success story," said a spokeswoman for the UK department of energy and climate change. "Wind is an important part of our low-carbon energy future. We're also driving the technology forward with innovative 6MW offshore turbines currently being installed in the North Sea."

The GWEC said market consolidation led to the relative slowdown in China, while "a lapse in policy" caused a similar slowdown in India, but expected Asian dominance of global wind markets to continue.

The record year for installation in the US was driven by a rush to beat an anticipated end to tax credits: 8GW of the total 13GW were installed in the last quarter of 2012. However, the tax credit has since been extended, meaning a dramatic slowdown in the US in 2013 is less likely.

GWEC said the outlook for 2013 in Europe was uncertain due to the eurozone debt crisis, but that the EU's legal committments and 2020 targets for renewable energy ensured "a degree of stability.

Source: www.guardian.co.uk