Over 54 gigawatts (GW) of wind power were installed in 2016 and cumulative capacity grew by more than 12 percent to hit 486.8 GW, according to a new report from global trade association, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
Released on Tuesday, the GWEC’s Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update forecasts nearly 60 GW of wind installations this year, with cumulative installed capacity seen reaching more than 800 GW by the end of 2021.
The GWEC said that Asia would lead growth, with China – which installed 23 GW in 2016 – leading all markets.
The report further outlined that the 2016 market had not met expectations set by the GWEC in early 2016. This was due to several reasons, including China installing “only” 23 GW in 2016 and smaller-than-expected markets in Mexico, Brazil, Canada and Africa.
The majority of these issues were seen as cyclical, the GWEC said, and it expected the market to pick up this year.
“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future,” Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general, said in a statement.
“We are well into a period of disruptive change, moving away from power systems centered on a few large, polluting plants towards markets increasingly dominated by a range of widely distributed renewable energy sources,” Sawyer added.
Wind energy is becoming an increasingly important source of power, with the International Energy Agency stating it is “developing towards a mainstream, competitive and reliable power technology.”
Looking forward, the GWEC said that Africa was set to have a “big year in 2017” while the Australian market was due to “come roaring back with a pipeline of projects” to be built over the coming years.
“Overall, we have a lot of confidence in the wind power market going forward, as the technology continues to improve, prices continue to go down and the call for clean, renewable power to reduce emissions, clean our air and create new jobs and new industries only gets stronger with each passing year,” Sawyer added.