The latest data released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) shows that North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean installed 13 427 MW of wind energy capacity in 2019, an increase of 12 % from 2018 installations
Total installed wind capacity in the region is now over 148GW, a tripling of capacity in 19 years. Leading countries in the region for 2019 were the USA (9143 MW new capacity installed), Mexico (1284MW), Argentina (931 MW), and Brazil (745MW).
The surge for wind in the Americas is expected to continue with GWEC forecasting over 220GW new capacity between 2020 to 2024
Regulatory and political instability in key Latin American markets for wind power along with the US-China trade war will be major challenges for further accelerating wind power growth in the Americas.
In North America (Canada and USA), new capacity additions grew by nearly 18 % compared to 2018, while in Central and South America and the Caribbean, new capacity additions decreased by 5 % over the same period.
In North America, the US saw an installation rush last year with nearly 10 GW installed. This was driven primarily by the Production Tax Credit (PTC) phase out and is expected to continue driving installations in 2020, while the recently approved one-year PTC extension is likely to create a new installation rush in 2024. In Central and South America and the Caribbean, strong growth has occurred in key markets such as Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. However, the outlook for wind power in the next two to three years in some of these markets – namely Argentina and Brazil – is threatened by regulatory and political challenges.
The offshore market in the US is also progressing, with the first large-scale installations expected in 2022-2023 and more than 10 GW expected to be built by 2026. Brazil is also looking to tap into the offshore market, and has the potential to deploy as much as 700 GW of offshore wind, according to a roadmap for offshore wind released by the country’s Energy Research Office (EPE) in January 2020.
Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC, commented: “It is encouraging to see that installation levels for wind energy in the Americas are continuing to rise. However, policymakers need to be doing more to accelerate these volumes and take advantage of the full potential wind power has to offer. Meanwhile, the ongoing trade war between the US and China continues to constitute a threat for the industry, as tariffs on steel and aluminium, which make up about 90 % of wind turbines, put price pressure on the US supply chain and risk increasing wind power projects by as much as 10 %”.
These latest figures released by GWEC form the statistical release of the Global Wind Report, GWEC’s flagship publication and a widely used source of data. The complete report provides a comprehensive snapshot of the global wind industry and an overview of trends such as the growth of offshore wind, corporate sourcing and changing business models. The full report will be released in March.