A global, renewable energy source

Today, more than 100 countries worldwide have developed commercial wind farms. The wind sector provides around 3.5% of the world’s generation capacity. In 2012, the world was powered for the equivalent of eight days by wind.

Wind will provide roughly 7.4% of global generation a decade from now. Many regional markets are already experiencing much higher percentages:

  • Wind provides roughly 30% of generation capacity in Denmark.
  • Wind provides over 45% of generation capacity in four major German states and roughly 11% nationally.
  • Wind generation capacity in some provinces in Spain reaches close to 100%.
  • In South Australia wind has provided more than 46% of total generation.

In 2012, the wind sector had a turnover of more than NZ$100 billion internationally.

International market growth

Globally, renewable electricity generation continues to exceed all predictions. In 2012, 44,711 MW of new wind generation - five times New Zealand’s entire electricity system - was installed around the world. This raised by 19% the total installed global capacity, to 282,482 MW. The majority of the new capacity was installed in Asia and North America, but new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia are also driving market growth.

The Global Wind Energy Council predicts average international market growth rates of about 8% per year for the next five years, but with a substantial dip in 2013. The Global Wind Energy Council sees total installations of about 255 GW between 2012-2016, and cumulative market growth averaging just less than 16% - but substantial growth in difficult times.

Wind is a generator of jobs as well as electricity. According to a 'moderate' growth scenario cited in the 2012 Global Wind Energy Outlook, more than 875,000 people will be employed by the industry by 2015, 1.2 million by 2020, and more than 1.7 million by 2030.

Global cumulative installed wind capacity, 1997-2012

Global Installed capacity

Annual installed capacity by region, 1997-2012

global installed capacity by region

Global installed wind power capacity, 2012

  Capacity installed in 2012 (MW)
Total capacity end 2012 (MW)
Asia 15,750 97,810
Europe 12,416 109,237
North America
14,860 67,576
Latin America
1,225 3,505
Pacific Region
358 3,219
Africa and Middle East
102 1,135
Total 44,711 282,482

Source: Global Wind Energy Council

Find out more:

Wind Energy 2030: The growing role for wind energy in NZ's electricity system

Global Wind Report, Global Wind Energy Association