According to a report by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), the worldwide wind capacity has reached 282’275 Megawatts, which amounts to about 3% of the global electricity demand. Although 44’609 Megawatts of wind power were added in 2012, the year showed the lowest growth rate at 19.2% for more than a decade.
The wind sector had a turnover of approximately $75 billion US in 2012 alone, which makes it one of the most lucrative markets.
China and the US were tied with around 13 Gigawatts of added wind capacity, however, most of the growth in the US happened in the later half of the year to avoid the anticipated PTC expiration. If we look at wind capacity by continent, “Asia accounted for the largest share of new installations (36,3 %), followed by North America (31,3 %) and Europe (27,5 %). Latin America stood for 3.9 % and Australia/Oceania for 0,8 %. Africa (0,2 %) is still a tiny wind market”.
The biggest barrier to entry in the market has been the uncertainties of policies across the globe.
According to the report, WWEA expects a global wind capacity of more than 500’000 Megawatt by the year 2016, and they believe that approximately 1’000’000 Megawatt are possible by the year 2020.
To read the report in its entirety: World Wind Energy Report 2012.