Global installed wind power capacity will fall just short of the 200GW mark by the end of this year, if new figures presented by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) yesterday prove correct.
The projections reveal that 40GW of new capacity will be added during 2010, ensuring that wind energy now accounts for about three per cent of global energy capacity.
Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the global trade association, told delegates at the Husum WindEnergy fair in Germany last week that despite a drop-off in orders from the US market this year, he still expected the sector to double capacity to 400GW by 2014.
"Overall, wind energy continues to be a growth market, weathering the economic crisis much better than some analysts had predicted," he said.
He added that growth is likely to be driven by China, Europe and a recovering US, but anticipated South American and North African nations will also play an increasing role in the global wind energy market.
"As wind power is becoming more competitive, it is rapidly expanding beyond the traditional markets in North America and Europe," he said. "In fact, around half of the growth is now happening in emerging economies and developing countries. We are seeing very encouraging signs from countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico and Chile, as well as Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. "
Greece is another nation with an expanding market for wind energy, as its mandatory EU targets for renewable energy loom large. To ramp up its domestic sector, the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy last week approved a €1.5bn investment in a 700MW wind park by Rokas Group in the northern Aegean. The project forms part of a wider €2.1bn programme of renewable energy projects.