World Will Install 44 Gigawatts of Wind Power in 2011

The World Wind Energy Association released its mid-year report for 2011, and showed an increase in installations over the same period a year earlier. A total of 18,405 megawatts of wind power were installed in the first half of this year around the world, up from 16,000 MW in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, China accounted for a huge chunk of the 2011 installations, with 8,000 MW of new wind power. The U.S. followed far behind, at 2,252 MW; that represents a big increase over a lackluster 2010 for the U.S., though, when 1,200 MW were added in the first six months of the year. Some other countries adding a lot of wind capacity through June 2011 were India (1,480 MW), Germany (766 MW), and Canada (603 MW). WWEA expects another 25,500 MW to be installed around the globe the rest of this year, bringing the total for 2011 to 43,900 MW. This represents almost a 17 percent increase over 2010's 37,642 MW.

The world's total wind energy capacity reached 215,000 MW at the end of June, and China accounted for an impressive 24.5 percent of that total, at 52,800 MW. The top five countries on the capacity list -- China, U.S., Germany, Spain, and India -- own almost three quarters of the world's capacity.

Notably, though, the global wind energy market is expanding. There are now 86 countries using wind energy (the latest three to join the party are Venezuela, Honduras, and Ethiopia), and those countries outside the top 10 in capacity now account for about 14 percent of the world's total.

Stefan Gsanger, the secretary general of WWEA, said in a press release: "We hope that especially the UN climate change conference in Durban will lead to better frameworks for wind energy mainly in developing countries. Amongst the industrialized countries, we expect that Japan will play an active and positive role in wind power in the foreseeable future and join soon the group of leading wind countries.” This, of course, being particular relevant in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and Japan's decision to rely less heavily on nuclear power.

(Image via WWEA)

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