Global Wind Energy Capacity up by 22% in 2010: GWEC

February 16, 2011

Global capacity of wind power installations grew by 35.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, a 22.5% increase on the 158.7 GW installed at the end of 2009, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) announced on February 2. This brings total installed wind energy capacity up to 194.4 GW, according to figures from the global wind industry trade association. For the first time, more than half of all new wind power was added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America. The shift was driven mainly by the continuing boom in China, which installed 16.5 GW in 2010 and now claims global leadership with 42.3 GW of wind power. Overall, the annual 2010 wind market was down for the first time in 20 years, shrinking by 7% from 38.6 GW in 2009, due largely to slowdowns in the United States and Europe, GWEC said.

The U.S. wind industry built 5,115 megawatts (MW) of wind power last year, which was about half of 2009's record pace, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). However, AWEA said U.S. industry entered 2011 with more than 5,600 MW under construction. The one-year extension by Congress of the Section 1603 Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy was expected to spur more project start ups to meet the new construction deadline for the tax credit now expiring at the end of 2011. See the GWEC press release, the GWEC summaryPDF, and the AWEA press release.