Wind power installations worldwide increased by 42 per cent in 2014 and wind is set to become a significant global source of reliable renewable energy according to a sweeping analysis by Navigant Research.
The World Wind Energy Market Update 2015 report is Navigant Research’s 20th annual market update. It covers changes in the wind energy sector during the last three years and provides a five-year forecast out to 2019. It shows last year 51.2 GW of wind power was added globally, an increase of 42 per cent year over year, with installed wind capacity reaching a total of 372 GW.
After what it called a dismal 2013, when global wind energy additions actually fell by 20 per cent; pro-renewable policies in China, Germany and the USA helped fuel a “remarkable comeback” in the sector in 2014.
Growth in countries such as Brazil, Canada, France and Turkey also laid a strong foundation for expansion in the five-year forecast.
“The wind power industry achieved a record year of installations in 2014, setting the stage for steady growth in the coming years,” said Jesse Broehl, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The industry’s development is being bolstered by key established markets and increasingly supported by new and diversified global markets.”
The surging wind sector meant several of the market’s major suppliers jumped up the rankings of the top 15 wind turbine manufacturers. Ranked by installed megawatts, Vestas, maker of world’s highest capacity V112-3.075 MW turbine, maintained top position in both onshore and offshore capacity thanks to widespread global sales. Siemens leapt to second on the ladder, climbing two spots on the back of Germany’s rapidly expanding offshore wind power market.
The report notes that Siemens could have overtaken Vestas as the highest seller of turbines globally in 2014 had all Germany’s planned offshore wind projects been completed on time.
It wasn’t all beer and skittles for the sector. Navigant notes for Spanish wind farm developers, 2014 was a rough year. In early 2014, the Spanish government reformed the electricity market by discontinuing the feed-in tariff (FIT) program entirely for all wind for all wind farms from that point on. For wind developer Acciona, ranked No. 5 in 2013, it added 98 MW in 2014, but was forced to sell off 150 MW. It ended the year less net wind capacity in 2014 than in 2013.