This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 06, 2008

Global Wind Energy Capacity Increases 27% in 2007

A photo of a line of at least seven wind turbines stretching into the distance, with the wind turbine blades blurred by their motion.

Wind power is growing rapidly throughout much of the world. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Warren Gretz

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) announced in mid-January that the global installed wind energy capacity exceeded 94 gigawatts (GW) in 2007. Companies installed 20 GW of new wind power last year, causing a 27% increase in wind energy capacity. The United States is currently the best market for wind power, featuring 5.2 GW of new wind energy capacity installed in 2007, followed by Spain and China with 3.5 GW and 3.4 GW, respectively. Europe has the most installed wind power of any continent, at 56.5 GW, but North America and Asia are both growing fast, each capturing about a quarter of the market for new wind turbines. China's jump to number three in the wind energy market is particularly impressive, as the country installed more than 1.5 times as much wind energy capacity in 2007 as it did in 2006. See the GWEC press release.

While the wind energy capacity in Europe grew at a relatively lackluster pace last year, increasing by only 18%, that still outpaced every other power-generating technology. Spain's installation of 3.5 GW was the largest annual capacity increase ever for a European country, but the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) noted that wind power growth in other European countries actually slowed last year, particularly in Germany, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. EWEA blamed the slackened pace on slow administrative processes, problems with electrical grid access, and legislative uncertainty. See the EWEA press release.