New wind farms added 51GW of capacity around world in 2018

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Cumulative global wind capacity reaches 591GW after 46.8GW of new onshore wind and 4.49GW of new offshore wind was installed around the world in 2018.

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The Global Wind Energy Council published new figures Tuesday revealing that a total of 51.3GW of new wind capacity was added in 2018, made up of 46.8GW of onshore wind and 4.49GW of offshore wind.

GWEC has been publishing 2018 wind energy data for the past few weeks in the lead up to the publication of its flagship Global Wind Report due on April 3, showing that the Americas installed 11.9GW of new wind capacity in 2018, 962 megawatts (MW) in Africa & the Middle East, and 24.9GW in the Asia Pacific region.

Published on Tuesday, GWEC published the statistical release of its Global Wind Report, revealing that a total of 51.3GW of new wind capacity was added in 2018, down 3.6 per cent compared to the 53.2GW added in 2017.

Onshore wind accounted for 46.8GW of all new capacity, a decrease of 3.9 per cent compared to the 48.7GW installed during 2018, while offshore wind saw a small increase of 0.5% for the year with new installations of 4.49GW.

As of the end of 2018, cumulative global wind capacity sat at 591GW, a 9.6 per cent yearly increase.

“2018 was a positive year for wind in all major markets, with China leading both onshore and offshore growth,” said Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC.

“We expect huge growth in Asia through the coming decade and beyond as part of the continuing shift from Europe to Asia as the driving region for wind development. However, government support and policy are key to enabling faster market growth in key regions such as South East Asia.”

“Wind markets in South-East Asia offer an opportunity for growth if policy commitments focus on the competitiveness and efficiency that wind energy can offer,” explained Karin Ohlenforst, Director of Market Intelligence at GWEC.

“More mature Asian markets like Japan and South Korea will continue to install new onshore capacity growing the onshore market in Asia.”

Asia is specifically expected to be the future home to a tremendous upsurge in the amount of offshore wind capacity, with potentially huge markets emerging in Taiwan and Japan.

According to GWEC, China installed more offshore wind capacity than any other country for the first time in 2018, installing 1.8GW, followed by the UK with 1.3GW and Germany with 900 MW. In total, 4.49GW of new offshore capacity was installed in 2018 bringing the global cumulative total of offshore wind up to 23GW.

China, specifically, now boasts approximately 4.5GW of offshore capacity, while the UK lays claim to the world’s largest amount of offshore wind, with 8.1GW of installed capacity – and more on the way. Germany is not far behind, though, with 6.3GW.

Future growth is dependent upon governments committing to development, supporting projects and investment. With this support in place, Asia could install 5GW or more of offshore wind capacity each year, while in the United States, GWEC expects the offshore wind market to reach 1GW by 2022-2023.

“Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55 GW or more to be added each year until 2023,” explained Karin Ohlenforst, Director of Market Intelligence at GWEC.

“In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7 to 8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.”

Australia’s contribution to 2018’s figures was minimal, installing only 549MW of new onshore wind capacity, bringing its cumulative total up to 5.362GW. However, GWEC expects bigger things from Australia in the future.

“GWEC expects about 5GW of new capacity to be installed in Australia between 2019 and 2023. It is important to note that the Australian market is driven by economics – the wind market is performing strongly in Australia and is very much competitive with other energy sources,” a GWEC spokesperson explained via email.

“The national support tool LRET (Large-scale Renewable Energy Target), which has driven new installations in the past, is expected to drive less capacity after 2020, which will allow wind to prove its cost competitiveness. It is different in India and China, where tenders and national planning are driving capacity.”

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