Global Wind Power Capacity Now 120.8 GW, 28.8% Growth in 2008
Looking Back on 2008's Wind Power BoomAccording to the GWEC: "Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8% last year, even higher than the average over the past decade, to reach total global installations of more than 120.8 GW at the end of 2008. Over 27 GW of new wind power generation capacity came online in 2008, 36% more than in 2007." The U.S. has passed Germany and is now #1 in wind power installed capacity, but China is expanding very quickly...Chinese Wind Power Growing ExponentiallyIn 2008, China has added 6.3 GW of wind capacity, bringing its total to 12.2 GW. It's the fourth year in a row that it doubles capacity. If it keeps going at that rate, it will pass the US (25.1 GW) and Germany (23,9 GW) to become #1 relatively quickly (though those are moving targets).
Wind Power in the US and Europe"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." See this post for more.
Big Wind, Big Money, Big JobsThe global wind market for wind turbine installations in 2008 was worth about 36.5bn EUR or 47.5bn US$. According to the GWEC, 400,000 people have jobs in that industry, and it projects over a million of jobs "in the near future".
That's about 35,000 new jobs in the US last year, for a total of 85,000 jobs in the wind power sector in that country.
What About the Future of Wind Power?But as Matt mentioned recently, the global economic recession isn't sparing wind power. The end of 2008 saw a slowdown, and financing new projects became difficult. Lower demand for energy because of reduced economic activity probably also makes new projects seem less urgent, though replacing dirty power plants with clean sources of power (wind, but also solar and others) should happen regardless.
Via GCC, GWECPhoto: Flickr, CCMore Energy ArticlesOil Demand in U.S. Sinks to 2003 Level According to American Petroleum InstituteGE to Spends Big Bucks for Smart Grid Ad on SuperbowlSolar Power Explosion in Spain: 3.1 Gigawatts Installed in 2008The Internet is Becoming More Energy Efficient, But Total Energy Use is Climbing