Thursday, February 23, 2012

10 Leading Wind Energy Countries

24/7 Wall St. recently reviewed the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) 2011 ranking of the ten biggest producers of wind power in the world. Wind power keeps growing despite a recession and slow economic growth. According to the GWEC report the world’s wind energy capacity increased by 17.3 percent in 2011.

A relatively small number of leading economic powers are driving wind energy. Nine out of the 10 are among the 12 countries with the largest GDP.

To compile the following list of leading wind energy countries, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the Global Wind Energy Council report, BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, and GDP data from the World Bank.

10. Portugal

Share of global wind power production: 1.7%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 377 MW/4,083 MW
Oil production: N/A
Oil consumption: 0.3 million barrels daily (0.3%)
GDP growth 2010: 1.4%

Portugal has dramatically increased its reliance on clean energy over the past few years. In 2005, 17 percent of the country’s electricity was derived from renewable sources. By 2010, this amount increased to nearly 45 percent. The New York Times reports that wind power, along with hydropower, is now Portugal’s main energy focus.

9. Canada

Share of global wind power production: 2.2%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total:1,267 MW/5,265 MW
Oil production: 3.3 million barrels/day (4.2%)
Oil consumption: 2.3 million barrels daily (2.5%)
GDP growth 2010: 3.2%

Canada increased its total wind power capacity by 24 percent in 2011. The country built 1,267 MW of new wind energy installations in the form of wind towers or wind turbines, effectively quadrupling Canada’s capacity. In 2010 690 MW installations were built.

8. United Kingdom

Share of global wind power production: 2.7%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 1,293 MW/6,540 MW
Oil production: 1.3 million barrels/day (1.6%)
Oil consumption: 1.6 million barrels daily (1.8%)
GDP growth 2010: 1.4%

The United Kingdom recently reached a record 6 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy, according to trade association RenewableUK. This is enough to power more than 3.3 million households. Another 19.5 GW are currently planned, and by 2020 over 30 GW are expected to be installed, the group reports.

7. Italy

Share of global wind power production: 2.8%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 950 MW/6,747 MW
Oil production: 0.1 million barrels/day (0.1%)
Oil consumption: 1.5 million barrels daily (1.8%)
GDP growth 2010: 1.3%

In 2011, the country increased its wind power capacity by 14 percent. According to the New York Times, more than 800 Italian communities now make more energy than they consume thanks to recent renewable energy plants, largely wind turbines.

6. France

Share of global wind power production: 2.9%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 830 MW/6,800 MW
Oil production: N/A
Oil consumption: 1.7 million barrels daily (2.1%)
GDP growth 2010: 1.5%

In 2010 France derived almost three quarters of its power needs from nuclear, now the country is increasing its use of renewable sources like offshore wind energy. According to Reuters, France has plans to meet 23 percent of its energy demand through renewable sources by 2020. The country also plans to double its wind power capacity by 2020.

5. India

Share of global wind power production: 6.7%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 3,019 MW/16,084 MW
Oil production: 0.8 million barrels/day (1.0%)
Oil consumption: 3.3 million barrels daily (3.9%)
GDP growth 2010: 8.8%

Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy sector in India, according to the Global Wind Energy Council’s 2011 report Indian Wind Energy Outlook. The report also notes that the national action plan on climate change aims to bring India’s total share of renewable energy sources up to 15 percent by 2020.

4. Spain

Share of global wind power production: 9.1%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 1,050 MW/21,674 MW
Oil production: N/A
Oil consumption: 1.5 million barrels daily (1.8%)
GDP growth 2010: -0.1%

As of March 2011, wind power has been Spain’s main source of electricity generation. However, spending cuts and political wrangling are threatening Spain's wind industry.

3. Germany

Share of global wind power production: 12.2%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 2,086 MW/29,060 MW
Oil production: N/A
Oil consumption: 2.4 million barrels daily (2.9%)
GDP growth 2010: 3.7%

Germany is the world’s third-largest producer of wind power. Germany is also reducing its reliance A decision by the government in the beginning of 2011 to phase out Germany’s nuclear plants has caused demand for wind turbines to soar. According to Bloomberg, “the government has raised subsidies for offshore wind farms as part of a plan to install 10,000 megawatts of sea-based turbines by the end of this decade, up from about 210 megawatts now.”

2. United States

Share of global wind power production: 19.7%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 6,810 MW/46,919 MW
Oil production: 7.5 million barrels/day (8.7%)
Oil consumption: 19.1 million barrels daily (21.1%)
GDP growth 2010: 3.0%

In the U.S. wind energy accounted for 2.3 percent of electricity purchased in 2010. Travis Miller, a Chicago-based utility analyst at Morningstar, believes that in wind power is to compete without government incentives, gas prices will have to double.

1. China

Share of global wind power production: 26.3%
Increase in wind power (2011)/total: 18,000 MW/62,733 MW
Oil production: 4.0 million barrels/day (5.2%)
Oil consumption: 9.1 million barrels daily (10.6%)
GDP growth 2010: 10.4%

China has invested heavily in wind energy, in 2011 alone it increased its wind capacity by 29 percent. According to Wang Zhongying, director and research fellow at the Center for Renewable Energy Development of the Energy Research Institute, “Wind power projects are expected to address 17 percent of the power demand in China,” by 2050.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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