Report: Global wind energy expects significant 2014 expansion

After a disappointing 2013, the Global Wind Energy Council says the 2014-2018 period shows promise, with strong growth in China and recovery in the USA.

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The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC, Brussels, Belgium) has launched its "Global Wind Report – Annual Market Update," updating the status of the global industry, along with market projections for 2014‐2018.

GWEC expects installations of at least 47 GW in 2014, a significant increase over 2013 levels. The market will be led by China, but with strong recovery in the U.S. market, and record installations in Canada and Brazil; and hundreds of megawatts in South Africa.

“The global market is back on track for 2014,” says Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general. “A strong Chinese market, recovery in the U.S. and an increasing role for emerging economies in the global market means that after 2014 the market will resume its steady if unspectacular growth, and end up just about doubling total global installations during the five year period to 2018.”

However, GWEC cautioned that without a strong global climate policy, market growth is unlikely to return to the 20 to 25 percent or more average growth which has characterized most of the last two decades.

In the absence of a global price for carbon emissions, or anything close to it, wind energy’s other attributes come to the fore. Today in many markets its most compelling selling point is cost-competitiveness. GWEC says wind is already competing successfully against heavily subsidized incumbents in a growing number of markets around the world as the technology and its implementation steadily improve; and job creation remains a priority just about everywhere. Furthermore, recent events in Ukraine and elsewhere point to wind energy’s contribution to energy security.

“Wind is now a mainstream technology, and a central part of electricity market development in an increasing number of countries,” says Sawyer. “But for the industry to reach its full potential, it is essential that governments get serious about climate change, and soon.”