Thu, May

Global Status of Wind Power In 2015

Industry Insights

2015  was  an  unprecedented  year   for the wind industry as annual installations crossed the 60 GW mark for the first time in history, and more than 63 GW of new wind power capacity was brought on line The last record was set in 2014 when over 51 7 GW of new capacity was installed globally .

In 2015 total investments in the clean energy sector reached a record USD 329 billion (EUR 296 6 bn) 2015 figures were up 4% from 2014’s investment of USD 316 billion (EUR 238 1 bn) and beating the previous record set in 2011 by 3%

The new global total for wind power at the end of 2015 was 432 9 GW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 17% This growth was powered by an astonishing new installations figure of 30,753 MW in China; the global wind power industry installed 63,467 MW in 2015, representing annual market growth of 22%

In early 2015, expectations for growth in the wind power market were not excessive, as continued economic slowdown in Europe and some emerging markets, and the political uncertainty  in  the  US,  made it complex to make projections for 2015, which we called at 53 5 GW Apparently, once again we were not factoring in the ability of China to surpass all projections with exceptional wind power development numbers

China, the largest overall market for wind power since 2009, retained the top spot    in 2015 True to form, installations in Asia again led global markets, with Europe in the second spot, and North America closing the gap with Europe, in third place

A result of this was that in 2015, as in 2014 and in 2013, the majority of wind installations globally were outside the OECD once again this has been the case since 2010, with the exception of 2012. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future

By the end of last year the number of countries with more than 1,000 MW installed capacity  was  26:  including  17  in Europe; 4 in Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan & Australia); 3 in North America (Canada, Mexico, US), 1 in Latin America (Brazil) and 1 in Africa (South Africa)

By the end of last year  eight  countries  had more than 10,000 MW of installed capacity including China (145,362 MW),  the US (74,471 MW),Germany (44,947 MW), India (25,088 MW), Spain (23,025 MW), UK (13,603  MW),  Canada  (11,205 MW),and France(10,358 MW)

China crossed the 100,000 MW mark in 2014, adding another chapter to its already exceptional history of renewable energy development since 2005. This year it made history again and strengthened its position on the leader board

Europe and North America both had strong years in 2015, led by Germany and the US respectively Guatemala, Jordan and Serbia each added their first large commercial wind farms, and South Africa became the first African market to pass the 1 GW mark


For the seventh year in a row, Asia was the world’s largest regional market for new wind power development, with capacity additions totaling nearly 339 GW

In terms of annual installations China maintained its leadership position China added 308 GW of new capacity in 2015, once again the highest annual number for any country ever This is almost twice the 2013 figure, when China installed 16 GW of new capacity

In 2015, wind power generation reached 186 3 TW, accounting for 3 3% of total electricity generation2 This follows a pat- tern of steady increase in wind based electricity generation despite heavy curtailment

In 2012, wind-generated electricity in China was just over a 100 TW, accounting for 2% of the country's total electricity output Wind provided almost 135 TWh of electricity in 2013, contributing 2 6% of the country's total electricity generation3 Total wind power generation reached over 153 TWh in 2014, 2 78% of total electricity generation4

The Chinese wind market almost doubled its capacity from 75 GW in 2012 to reach 145 GW by the end of 2015, reinforcing China’s lead in terms of cumulative installed wind power capacity

All observers continue to be surprised by the astonishing track record  for  growth  of the wind sector in China over the last decade. The current pace of growth in the Chinese wind power market may see a slowdown in 2017 However, we have often been positively surprised when time and again China’s installation figures surpass expectations

Curtailment on wind farms in China worsened in 2015, as grid companies kept almost 34 billion kWh from being delivered to the grid According to the National Energy Administration (NEA), the country wasted 15% of wind power generated in 20155

On-going curtailment of electricity geon is a challenge for wind power projects However, the NEA and State Grid are working to solve the transmission bottlenecks and other grid issues, and the situation is expected to improve

India continues to be the second largest wind market in Asia, and in 2015 passed Spain to attain 4th place in terms of cumulative installations The Indian wind sector has struggled over the years to repeat the strong market performance of 2011 when over 3 GW was installed 2015 seems to signal the onset of a recovery phase given the government’s desire to address some of the structural bottlenecks in the market

 India’s new wind energy installations totaled 2,623 MW in 2015, for a total of 25,088 MW This kept the Indian wind power market  for 2015 at #5 globally The total grid connected renewable energy installations in the country reached approximately 39,411 MW6

The Indian government has committed to  a target of 175 GW of renewables by 2022, including 100 GW of  solar  capacity  and 60 GW of cumulative wind power capacity. The government has also indicated its support for rapidly growing the power sector, renewables being a core part of this strategy.

While the rest of Asia did not make much progress in 2015, there are some favor- able signs on the horizon The Japanese market installed almost 245 MW  in  2015 to reach a cumulative capacity of 3,038 MW This represents around 0 5% of the total power supply, and Japan is slowly moving towards a transformation of its energy system to allow for a more diverse energy mix including more wind power  and other renewables However, removing existing barriers will still take time Offshore wind development, in particular on floating platforms, is a promising prospect for the future

Although South Korea still has “green growth” as one of its national development priorities, wind power is still a relatively small energy generation technology, with 225 MW of new installations in 2015, bringing total installed capacity to just over 835 MW

Taiwan added 14 MW of new capacity, bringing its total installed capacity to 647 MW As for the rest of Asia,  we  expect  new projects to come online in Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam in 2016 .

Credits: GWEC