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China Continues to Lead Wind Power Race

05 May 10:00 by Steve Walia

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A new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has shown that more than 54 GW of wind energy was installed last year, with cumulative capacity growing to 468GW - a 12pc rise. 

The trade association also forecast that almost 60 GW of new installations would go online this year, reaching over 800 GW of total global installed capacity by 2021. It anticipates that China will lead the way, having installed 23 GW last year.

The market in 2016 did not meet the GWEC's expectations, however, despite its progress. China still installed less than originally expected, and growth predictions also were not realised in Brazil, Mexico, Africa and Canada. However, GWEC said that most of these issues were down to cyclical market reasons, and it expected to see an upturn in the markets later this year.

In a statement, the GWEC said that wind energy was now able to successfully compete with industries that were heavily subsidised. On a global scale, wind energy is now creating thousands of new jobs, growing new industries and helping to pave the way towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

GWEC's Secretary General, Steve Sawyer, said that the industry was now well ahead in a period of very disruptive change, helping governments to move away from centralised fossil fuel plants which are large polluters. Instead, there is now a move towards green energy which is widely distributed.

Wind power is being described as a highly competitive, reliable and mainstream energy technology, according to the International Energy Agency. Turbines are also becoming more advanced, cheaper to manufacture and larger, enabling offshore models to be placed further off the coastline.

GWEC expects Africa and Australia to have 'big years' in 2017 and beyond.