Top ten countries by new installed wind capacity from Jan to December 2013 (Source: GWEC)

The latest statistics from the Global Wind Energy Council show that cumulative global wind installed capacity reached 318 137 MW by the end of 2013, an increase of nearly 200 000 MW over the past five years. However, the annual level of installation dropped by almost 10 GW, to 35 467 MW, attributable to "the precipitous drop in US installations due to the policy gap created by the US Congress in 2012", says GWEC.

2013 marked another difficult year for the industry with ‘only’ 12.5% cumulative growth, but the prospects for 2014 and beyond look much brighter. "Outside of Europe and the US, the global market grew modestly last year, led by China and an exceptionally strong year in Canada. While the policy hiatus in the US hit 2013 figures hard, the good news is that projects under construction in the US totalled more than 12 000 MW at year end, a new record. European installations fell by 8%, and showed an unhealthy concentration of the market in just two countries, Germany and the UK", said GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer.

GWEC welcomed the strong preliminary installation figures from China, noting that the consolidation phase for the Chinese industry, which began after the peak year of 2010 seems to be over. "China is a growth market again, which is good news for the industry. The government’s commitment to wind power has been reinforced once again by raising the official target for 2020 to 200 GW, and the industry has responded." India has a new national ‘Wind Mission’, Brazil booked 4.7 GW of new projects in 2013, and Mexico’s electricity sector reform is set to ignite the market in the coming years. While only chalking up 90 MW in installations in 2013, Africa is poised to boom with new installations in 2014 led by South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

"Non-OECD markets are pretty healthy on the whole, and there is a steady stream of new markets emerging in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With the US apparently back on track, at least for the next two years, the main challenge is stabilising the European markets, both onshore and offshore, which have been rocked by political dithering over the past few years", said Sawyer. GWEC expects 2014 installations to at least return to 2012 levels, and probably surpass them. Its annual 5-year forecast (2014-2018) will be issued in April.

Photo: Top ten countries by new installed wind capacity from Jan to December 2013 (Source: GWEC)