The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) launched its flagship publication, the Global Wind Report: Annual Market update today in Brussels. The wind power industry set new records across the world last year, and wind is leading the transformation of the global power system, long overdue and very necessary to achieve the climate objectives agreed by 186 nations in Paris last December.
"Wind power led all technologies in new power generation in 2015", said GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer; "Led by wind, renewables have come of age and are transforming the power sector."
The Chinese industry continued to amaze, installing no less than 30.8 GW of new capacity last year, more than the whole industry installed in 2008, and China surpassed the EU in total installations, ending the year with 145 GW in total. Both Europe and the US markets performed better than expected, and the European offshore sector set a new record, installing just over 3 GW. Canada, Mexico and Brazil all had strong years.
"The Paris Agreement requires a fully decarbonized power system by 2050 if not before, if we are keeping temperatures below 2°C above pre-industrial levels," said Sawyer. "We have to turn things around very quickly."
GWEC projects that wind power installations will nearly double in the next five years, led by China, but with major contributions from both Europe, on the basis of its 2020 targets, and the US, which is now entering its longest period of policy stability. The US see a much stronger industry emerge, setting the stage for a period of rapid growth in the coming years.
At the same time, new markets are emerging across Africa, Asia and Latin America, which will provide the major growth markets in the next decade. Outside of China, Asia will be led by India, but new markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan and Mongolia are developing quickly.
South Africa was the first market in Africa to pass the 1,000 MW last year, and alongside Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya, will be leading development in that market. Brazil will continue to lead in Latin America, followed by Chile and Uruguay, and a potentially very large market is just now opening up in Argentina.
"Wind power is now mainstream, supplying competitive, reliable and clean energy to fuel economic growth, and to cut emissions in established economies, while at the same time creating new jobs, new industries, and enhancing energy security," said Sawyer.