Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) will present its annual Global Wind 2008 Report at the European Wind Energy Conference in Marseille on March 17, 2009. The report includes a five year forecast for the development of the global wind energy market. GWEC predicts that in 2013, five years from now, global wind generating capacity will stand at 332 gigawatt (GW), from 120 GW at the end of 2008. In 2013, 56.3 GW of wind generating capacity will be added, more than double the annual market in 2008.

The year-on-year growth rates during this period will average 22%, which is modest compared to an average increase of 28% over the last ten years.

In the past, these projections have regularly been outstripped by the actual performance of the sector and have had to be adjusted upwards. Despite the economic downturn, this year is no exception.

Strong policy support for wind power will continue to drive growth in our three main markets: China, Europe and the US. Governments are turning the current crisis into an opportunity, putting wind power at the center of their economic stimulus and recovery programmes, GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer said. This will create many thousands of jobs, improve energy security and help address the climate crisis.

For the past several years, two markets have continuously outperformed GWEC’s most optimistic expectations the US and China. For the next year or two, developments in the US are expected to be hampered by a lack of financing and the overall economic downturn, before the stimulus package will start having a major impact on the market. At the same time, growth in China is set to continue at a breathtaking rate, driving a substantial increase in global wind energy installations in the coming years.

Of course the financial crisis is affecting the wind energy industry, just like any other sector. At the same time the outlook for wind energy is very healthy, GWEC Chairman Arthouros Zervos said. All of the fundamental drivers that have made wind power the technology of choice for those seeking to build a secure, clean energy future are still in place. Wind power is clean, indigenous, fast to deploy, creates many jobs, uses virtually no water and is economically competitive. Neither the threat of climate change nor the macroeconomic insecurity due to reliance on imported fossil fuel is going to go away because of the recession.

The continued expansion of global wind generation capacity is driven by three markets: China, Europe and the US.

China has been doubling its installed capacity every year for the past four years, and growth is expected to continue at a tremendous rate. This development is underpinned by a very aggressive government policy supporting the diversification of the electricity supply, the growth of the domestic industry, and making significant investments in transmission infrastructure. China is set to become the world’s largest market for new installations in 2009. In Asia overall, the total wind generating capacity is expected to reach 117 GW by 2013, up from just 24 GW in 2008.

Wind energy development in the US will see a small drop in 2009 as a result of tightening project finance. However, with the package of measures recently agreed by the US Congress, and the prospect of national emissions reduction legislation, the market will quickly recover. Over the next five years, a total of 55 GW of wind power capacity will be added in North America bringing the total to more than 82 GW.

Europe will continue to have the largest installed capacity up to 2013. 118 GW – driven by binding European legislation requiring 20% of total final energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. By 2013 the annual market will reach 12.5 GW.

The 332 GW of global wind capacity we forecast for 2013 will produce 730 TWh of clean electricity and save 438 million tons of CO2 every year, said GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer. This is the equivalent to displacing about 90 large coal fired power stations, showing yet again the key role that wind energy can and must play in fighting climate change. Overall, wind power is well on track to saving a total of 10 billion tons of CO2 by 2020.