The world’s wind power capacity grew by 31 per cent in 2009, according to statistics released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The boost added 37.5 GW to total global wind power installations, bringing the figure up to 157.9 GW.
One third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100 per cent growth.
China was the world’s largest wind energy market, nearly doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.1 GW at the end of 2009.
A newly added capacity of 1,270 MW in India and some smaller additions in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan made Asia the biggest regional market for wind energy in 2009, with more than 14 GW of new capacity.
However, the US maintains a comfortable lead in terms of total installed capacity, according to the GWEC. Despite the financial downturn, the US wind energy market installed nearly 10 GW in 2009, increasing the country’s installed capacity by 39 per cent, and bringing the total installed grid-connected capacity to 35 GW.
“The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General.
Wind energy continues to play an important role in the world’s energy markets. The global wind market for turbine installations in 2009 was worth approximately €45 billion ($71 billion) and GWEC estimates that around half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world.
In other wind industry news, figures recently released by the European Wind Energy Association showed that offshore wind installations in Europe rose by 54 per cent last year.