The GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) published its annual review of growth trends in the global wind power market* on April 25. It reports new records in the European Union, slower growth in Asia and strong trends for the future.
2016: a year of two-speed growth for wind power. Although growth of the wind power industry in China - which leads the global market - slowed during the year, many new installation records were set in the European Union. It's a situation that the GWEC sees as reflecting a promising market buoyed up by the continual decline in the cost of generating this type of renewable energy.
The wind power industry continued to grow in 2016. Nevertheless, the GWEC notes a slight slowing of growth in China, as well as in many other emerging markets, such as South Africa, Brazil, Canada and Mexico.
At the same time, many Western nations are backing wind power. This is true, for example, in the USA, which is still the world's second-largest market, and which saw an increase of 8.2 GW in installed power during 2016. The US wind power market therefore ended the year with a total installed capacity of 82.2 GW; a figure equivalent to 5.5% of the total national energy generation. In some states, including South Dakota and Iowa, this source of power accounts for around 30% of overall consumption.
A similar picture emerges for the European Union, where wind power is now a fully integral part of the energy landscape. Although Germany remains well in the lead with 5,443 MW of installed power in 2016, many countries, such as France (1,561 MW), the Netherlands (887 MW), Finland (570 MW), Ireland (384 MW) and Lithuania (178 MW) set new wind power installation records in 2016. In total, 12.5 GW of new wind power capacity was installed in the European Union during the year.
As the world continues on the path to carbon reduction, ENGIE is diversifying its energy mix, and pressing ahead with its commitment to increase the contribution of wind power to that mix. So the total wind power generating capacity operated by the Group worldwide is now more than 5,150 MW, including 600 MW now under construction. Projects include:
In Mexico, construction will begin at the start of 2018 on a wind park with a total generating capacity of 51.8 MW
In Morocco, ENGIE is operating Africa's largest (301 MW) wind farm at Tarfaya under a joint venture with Nareva Holding.
In Belgium, ENGIE Electrabel officially opened a number of new sites in 2016, and continues to progress its Electrabel CoGreen initiative that allows local residents to invest directly in the construction of local wind parks and receive clean, locally-generated energy.
In France, ENGIE is the leading operator in the industry, with 1,730 MW of installed generating capacity at the end of 2016.
* Source: Global Wind Report 2016, GWEC.