After a slowdown in 2013, the wind industry set a new record for yearly installations in 2014, adding 51 477 MW of wind generating capacity globally, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has revealed.
The record-setting figure, which brought total cumulative installations to 369 553 MW, represented a 44% year-on-year increase and was interpreted as a solid sign of the recovery of the industry following a subdued period of growth.
“Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid in a rapidly increasing number of markets around the world, even when competing against heavily subsidised incumbents.
“The cost stability of wind power makes it a very attractive option for utilities, independent power producers and companies who are looking for a hedge against the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels," GWEC secretary-general Steve Sawyer said in a statement on Wednesday.
The council further revealed in its Global Wind Statistics report for 2014 that China continued to drive global growth, adding 23 351 MW of new wind power in 2014 – almost 45% of the total wind capacity added during the year.
The total Asian market had added total installations of 26 161 MW, with India contributing 2 315 MW of new wind capacity.
In Africa, the continent’s largest wind farm came on line in 2014 with the commissioning of the 300 MW Tarfaya plant, in Morocco, while the South African market added 560 MW of wind capacity, boosting the continent’s total wind generation capacity by 934 MW.
Elsewhere, GWEC found that the European market grew marginally in 2014, adding 12 820 MW of new capacity.
Germany's 5 279 MW of new capacity cemented its position as European market leader, followed by the UK, which installed 1 736 MW of wind generation capacity during the year.
In addition, Sweden installed 1 050 MW of wind capacity in 2014, while France added 1 042 MW over the period.
In South America, Brazil added 2 472 MW of new wind installations, followed by Chile and Uruguay, which added 506 MW and 405 MW respectively.
This contributed towards Latin America’s total installations for the year of 3 749 MW.
Meanwhile, the US market recovered in 2014, installing 4 854 MW of wind capacity, while Canada added 1 871 MW.
“Australia's 567 MW of added wind generation capacity in 2014 shows that the renewables industry in Australia is not dead, despite the best efforts of the government to kill it,” the council stated.