Additions of 52.6 GW in 2017 took the total capacity of global installed wind turbines to 539 GW by the end of December, according to figures published today.
The statistics from the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) reveal that last year’s installations were the third annual largest ever, after the record years of 2015 and 2014.
However, the WWEA points out that the 2017 annual growth rate of only 10.8 per cent is the lowest growth ever since the industrial deployment of wind turbines started at the end of the 20th century.
In 2017, Denmark set a new world record with 43 per cent of its power coming from wind. An increasing number of countries have now reached a double-digit windpower share, including Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay.
China was by far the largest wind market, with an installed capacity of 19 GW last year, slightly less than in 2016, and a cumulative wind capacity of 188 GW.
The figures show that last year the US added 6.8 GW, Germany 6.1 GW, India 4.6 GW, the UK 3.3 GW and Brazil 2 GW.
However, the WWEA report highlights that some major markets in Europe “faced stagnation”, such as Spain and Portugal. It added that “at the same time, the new installation record in Germany and in some other European markets is rather the result of an anticipated market collapse, due to the switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions, which has been imposed by the European Commission, and creates major difficulties in particular for small and medium-sized investors, including community ownership”.
WWEA secretary-general Stefan Gsänger said: “The general, robust growth of windpower around the world which goes hand in hand with further geographic diversification is very encouraging. New world regions such as Latin America and Africa are playing an important role in this dynamic development.
“Obviously, many governments have understood that wind power brings great benefits to their societies, as it is emission-free, cheap, domestic and accessible and offers a very attractive pathway to achieving the Paris agreement. However, signs of weakness, in particular in Europe, are a matter of concern. The European Union and its member states should urgently reinforce their efforts to deploy wind power as part of an overall renewable energy strategy and to work out a roadmap for a 100 per cent renewable energy future.”