Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8 percent in 2008
Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8 percent last year to reach total global installations of more than 120.8 GW at the end of 2008, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
Over 27 GW of new wind power generation capacity came online in 2008, 36 percent more than in 2007.
"These figures speak for themselves: there is huge and growing global demand for emissions-free wind power, which can be installed quickly, virtually everywhere in the world. Wind energy is the only power generation technology that can deliver the necessary cuts in CO2 in the critical period up to 2020, when greenhouse cases must peak and begin to decline to avoid dangerous climate change," said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC.
"The 120 GW of global wind capacity in place at the end of 2008 will produce 260 TWh and save 158 million tons of CO2 every year."
The leading markets in terms of new installed capacity in 2008 were the US and China. New US wind energy installations totalled 8,358 MW for a total installed capacity of 25,170 MW and the US has now officially overtaken Germany (23,902 MW) as number one in wind power. Europe and North America are running neck-to-neck, with about 8.9 GW each of new installed capacity in 2008, with Asia closely following with 8.6 GW.
The massive growth in the US wind market in 2008 increased the nation's total wind power generating capacity by 50 percent. The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added in the US last year, and created 35,000 new jobs, for a total of 85,000 employed in the sector in the US.
Close to a third of all new capacity in 2008 was installed on the Asian continent. In particular, the wind energy boom is continuing in China, which once again doubled its installed capacity by adding about 6.3 GW, reaching a total of 12.2 GW.
"The Chinese wind energy market is going from strength to strength, and has once again doubled in size compared to 2007, reaching over 12 GW of total installed capacity," said Shi Pengfei, VP, Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA).