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
Annual installed capacity by region, 1997-2012
Global installed wind power capacity, 2012
Capacity installed in 2012 (MW)
Total capacity end 2012 (MW)
Africa and Middle East
Source: Global Wind Energy Council