Wind power has become an important source of energy generation around the world. In 2019, the global wind power market grew 19%, with just about 60 GW of new capacity added to the world’s electric grids, including over 54 GW onshore and over 6 GW offshore. This was the second largest annual increase in capacity to date. Having accounted for one-tenth of additions in 2019, offshore wind power plays an exponentially significant position in the global wind industry.
Despite uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the United States wind industry has had a solid start to this year. In the first quarter of 2020, the industry put in over 1,800 megawatts (MW) of new capacity for wind power. Additionally, according to the new Wind Powers America First Quarter Report 2020, the volume of projects under construction set a new record. The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) report indicates that U.S. project developers installed more than double the amount of wind capacity in the first three months of 2020 than in the first quarter of 2019.
Which Countries Have the Highest Wind Energy Capacity?
The construction of new wind power varies year to year and by region, but which countries have the highest capacity of wind energy? Below we’ll take a look at some the top 5 countries by installed wind capacity throughout the world.
- China is the leader in wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity. The country has an installed capacity of 221 GW. It is also home to the world’s largest onshore wind farm, in Gansu Province, with a capacity of 7,965 megawatt (MW), which is five times larger than its nearest competitor
2. The United States
- Following China is the United States, with 96.4 GW of installed capacity, and six of the 10 largest onshore wind farms in the world, including the Alta Wind Energy Centre in California, with a capacity of 1,548 MW, making it the world’s second-largest onshore wind farm.
- By itself the state of Texas produces a quarter of the US’s wind power with 24.9GW, generating more wind energy than 25 other US states do, combined.
- With 59.3 GW, Germany’s installed wind capacity is the highest in all of Europe. Its largest offshore wind farms, the Gode Wind Farms (phase 1 & 2), have a combined capacity of 582MW.
- It is also home to the Nordsee One offshore wind farm, which has a capacity of 382MW and provides electricity to 400,000 homes.
- According to Wind Europe, Europe installed 11.7GW of wind energy in 2018. Leading the way, Germany had 29% of this capacity, with just under 3.4GW—2.4GW onshore and just under 1GW offshore.
- India’s total capacity of 35 GW gives it the second-highest wind capacity in Asia (after China). The country also has the third- and fourth-largest onshore wind farms in the world: the 1,500-MW Muppandal wind farm in Tamil Nadu and the 1,064-MW Jaisalmer Wind Park in Rajasthan.
- The wind market in India is expected to expand significantly in the foreseeable future since the Indian government plans to install 60GW of wind energy by 2022.
- Holding a capacity of 23GW covering 18% of Spain’s electricity supply, the country is fifth in the world despite none of its onshore or offshore wind farms being in the top 20 largest by capacity. Although Spain is a strong performer in wind energy, the Spanish wind industry has declined over the past few years, with nothing added in 2015, 38 MW in 2016, and 66 MW in 2017, a far cry from when it installed gigawatts annually.
Expansion of Wind Farms in 2019
During 2019, new wind farms became fully operational in at least 55 countries, compared to 47 in 2018. By the end of the year, the number of countries with some level of commercial wind power capacity exceeded 102, and 35 countries (including every region) had over at least 1 GW in operation.
Quickly falling costs per kilowatt-hour (both onshore and offshore) have made wind energy more competitive and allowed wind power to compete head-to-head with fossil fuel generation in a growing number of markets around the world, including in the countries you’ve just learned about.
If you’re curious in learning more about wind energy, get in touch with one of our customer service agents and ask them about offsetting your electricity usage with renewable energy certificates sourced from national wind.