Wind power surges past nuclear in China, India, Brazil and South Africa

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Even with an early start, nuclear power is surpassed by wind power in China and India, and will soon be overtaken in Brazil, South Africa.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nuclear power is often cited as a more rapid option to reduce emissions than renewables such as wind energy. But recent experience shows just how quickly wind energy is overtaking China in four of the fastest growing energy markets in the world – China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

China: from official Chinese sources and from data from the IAEA PRIS data base, wind power production at 153.4 TWh in 2014 was higher than the nuclear production at 130.5 TWh. Shares of the 5,520 TWh electricity production in China in 2014, were 2.78 % for wind and 2.36 % for nuclear.



India: 2014 wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 22,465 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC. It has now overtaken nuclear, although the industry started more than two decades later.


Brazil: 2014 wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 5,938 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC. Nuclear production has been relatively static.


South Africa: 2014 nuclear production is an estimate and wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 570 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC.


Total from China, India, Brazil, South Africa:



So, Some conclusions:

Even with an early start, nuclear power is already surpassed by wind power production in China and in India.

Delays required to decide, to finance and to build new nuclear power plants and the much easier and faster onshore wind power development will lead to a wind power production larger than nuclear in a few years in Brazil and then in South Africa.

As in those four large countries, wind power will remain easier to develop than nuclear energy in small and intermediate developing and emerging countries.

Those tendencies and opportunities will be reinforced by the decreases in wind power investment and kWh costs and by the increases in capacity factors of new onshore wind farms built with the new models of wind turbines of the emerging “Silent Wind Power Revolution” delivering high and very high capacity factors including in light wind speeds areas [2].

This fast development of clean and affordable onshore wind power production in developing and emerging countries will contribute to lower CO2 emissions resulting from the too high amount of fossil fuels burnt in the world for power production .









Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  1. James_2014 5 years ago

    Terawatt hours is the best way to show off windpower – of course once you factor in intermittency and infrastructure costs – the increasing and disproportionate stress of progressive increases of windpower this graph may not be the whole story!

  2. Chatteris 5 years ago

    Unfortunately our Government here in South Africa seems stubbornly wedded to the idea of building six new nuclear plants. Yes, that’s in a country with some of the best wind and solar conditions in the world. Distributed renewals would probably mean a loss of government control of the power supply of course, so that may well be the root cause. My prediction is that the current crisis in Eskom, the electricity parastatal, will force it to engage more PPPs (private power producers) and will head off most of the nukes which will, as usual, balloon in price and take forever to build.

  3. GM 5 years ago

    In India, nuclear energy is the cheapest form of electricity and 5 4000MW projects have been announced.
    The cost will be about a trillion rupees. 8 times the cost of Ivanpah for 500 times the amount of electricity

    • Catprog 5 years ago

      Where is the Ivanpah wind project?

      • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

        United States. Nowhere close to India.

        • Catprog 5 years ago

          (And I think it is solar thermal and not wind too)

          • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

            Yes, that is correct.

    • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

      Are you sure nukes are cheaper than wind in India? Seems to me that wind wouldn’t be growing so fast if it was more expensive.

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.