Many industries are currently worried about their short to medium-term prospects. Not the wind power industry, apparently. The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) forecasts a 155% growth, with installed capacity reaching 240 gigawatts by 2012.
Part of the optimism is due to the fact that both the U.S. and Chinese markets for wind power are growing faster than was expected only a year ago, and the growing Chinese manufacturing capacity for wind turbines is also helping. Things are changing so fast, maybe even these new forecasts will later turn out not to have been optimist enough.
GWEC now forecasts an addition of 146 GW will come online in the next five years, equalling an investment of more than €180 billion (US $277 billion). By 2012 wind generated electricity is expected to reach over 500 terrawatt-hours (TWh) annually, up from 200 TWh in 2007. In 2012, Europe will continue to host the largest wind energy capacity, with the total reaching 102 GW, followed by Asia with 66 GW and North America with 61.3 GW, according to GWEC.
The forecast for annual installation is also promising. By 2012, Asia (led by China) is expected to be #1 with 12.5 gigawatt/year, with North-America in #2 at 10.5 gigawatt/year and Europe #3 with 10.3 gigawatt/year.
Currently, installation rates for the whole industry are at about 20 gigawatt/year.
See also: ::New Wind Power Record in Spain: 40.8% of Total Demand!, ::Enercon E-126: The World’s Largest Wind Turbine (for now), ::Motorola's Solar and Wind-Powered Cell Phone Base Stations in Africa, ::Global Wind Power Capacity Reaches 100,000 Megawatts