Wind power is blowing hot – for now

By Jeremy Wakeford, Engineering News:

Wind power has been blowing hot for over a decade as one of the leading renewable-energy sources.

According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2012, the yearly growth rate of global cumulative installed wind power capacity has been above 20% since 1996 and averaged over 25% a year in the last decade. This means capacity has been doubling roughly every three years. The 40 GW of capacity added in 2011 was greater than that of any other renewable-energy technology, according to the Renewables 2012 Global Status Report published by REN21.

By the end of last year, global installed wind capacity was nearly 240 GW. China boasted a 26% share of this, having added a whopping 17.6 GW – almost 40% – to its capacity last year alone. In second place was the US, with a 20% share. After leading the rankings until 2007, Germany’s share shrank to 12% after recording relatively sluggish growth of 7% in 2011.

Although the top ten countries notched up 87% of global capacity, nearly 50 countries added wind capacity last year, showing that its appeal is broadening. More than half of this new capacity was in developing countries… Read more

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