The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) estimates that the cumulative installed wind power capacity could be more than 800GW globally by 2021.

The forecast was published in the international trade association's Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update report.

According to the report, the clean renewable wind power sector saw over 54GW installations across 90 countries last year.

While installed capacity in 9 countries was more than 10GW in 2016, 29 nations crossed the 1GW mark. Overall, the cumulative global wind capacity increased by 12.6% to reach 486GW by the end of last year. 

The report noted that wind power penetration levels continued to record a growth, with Denmark leading the chart with 40% increase followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with over 20%.

While China derived 4% of its total power from wind last year, the US and Canada saw a contribution of 5.5% and 6% from the renewable source, respectively.

GWEC said that the growth in wind power installations will be led by Asia, with China dominating the global market.

It added that India set a new record for installations in 2016, helping the country's government to meet its ambitious targets for the sector.

GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said: “Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future.

“We are well into a period of disruptive change, moving away from power systems centered on a few large, polluting plants towards markets increasingly dominated by a range of widely distributed renewable energy sources. We need to get to a zero emissions power system well before 2050 if we are to meet our climate change and development goals.”

Steve Sawyer continued: “Offshore wind has had a major price breakthrough in the past year, and looks set to live up to the enormous potential that many have believed in for years. We see the technology continuing to improve and spread beyond its home base in Europe in the next 5-10 years.”

Image: Global installed wind power to reach 800GW by 2021. Photo: Courtesy of PenguinFB/