Record Chinese installations drive global market past 63 GW.
According to the latest data released by the Global Wind Energy Council, the global wind power industry installed 63,013 MW in 2015, representing annual market growth of 22%. 30,500 MW of which are new installations in China.
The US market reached 8.6 GW on the back of a strong fourth quarter surge, and Germany led a stronger than expected performance in Europe with a record 6 GW of new installations, including 2.3 GW offshore. Total global capacity reached 432,419 MW at the end of 2015, representing cumulative growth of 17%.
"Wind power is leading the charge in the transition away from fossil fuels", said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC. "Wind is blowing away the competition on price, performance and reliability, and we're seeing new markets open up across Africa, Asia and Latin America which will become the market leaders of the next decade. Wind power led new capacity additions in both Europe and the United States, and new turbine configurations have dramatically increased the areas where wind power is the competitive option."
As a result of its extraordinary annual market, China has edged past the European Union in terms of total installed capacity, with 145.1 GW to the EU's 141.6 GW. The Chinese government's drive for clean energy, supported by continuous policy improvement, is motivated by the need to reduce dependence on coal which is the main source of the choking smog strangling China's major cities, as well as growing concern over climate change. Elsewhere in Asia, India chalked up a respectable 2,623 MW, pushing past Spain into fourth place in terms of cumulative capacity, after China, the US and Germany; and Japan, South Korea and Taiwan added some new capacity as well.
Australia and the Pacific were quiet, although Australia added 380 MW to push the country's total installations to over 4 GW.
"2015 was a big year for the big markets - China, the US, Germany and Brazil, all of which set new records", said Sawyer. "But there is a lot of activity in new markets around the world and I think in 2016 we'll see a broader distribution".
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