The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) issued a report summing the 2017 results in the sphere of global wind energy:
During the last year, the global cumulative wind capacity increased by 52.57 GW. However, it is worth mentioning that the global wind energy has been showing a drop in the new capacity commissioning rate for two successive years: with the record-setting 62.6 GW commissioned in 2015, the rate dropped to 54.6 GW in 2016.
The global cumulative installed wind power capacity reached 539.58 GW by the end of 2017.
The report provides an analysis of the industry development by region.
Asia stands out as a leader in construction of wind power facilities: it commissioned 24.4 GW of new capacity with 19.5 GW - in China (which accounts for 35% of new wind turbines worldwide). It is worth mentioning that the wind power growth rates in Asia have been on the decline for two successive years. It is primarily due to the drop in capacity growth rates in China: in 2015, the growth was 30.5 GW, dropping to 23 GW in 2016.
Unlike in Asia, the European cumulative wind capacity growth rates are on the rise: 16.8 GW was added in 2017, including 15.7 GW in the EU. Last year, Germany and the UK take the lead by adding 6.6 GW and 4.3 GW, accordingly.
In North America, the growth rates are on the decline. The USA accounts for a vast majority of new turbines: 7 GW out of the cumulative 7.8 GW on the continent.
Brazil stands out in Latin America and the Caribbean, adding 2 GW out of the cumulative 2.6 GW.
Only two countries in the united African and Pacific region show a noticeable growth: South Africa (621 MW) and Australia (245 MW).
Thus, according to the 2017 results, the top three countries in global cumulative wind power capacity are still China (188.2 GW, 35%), the USA (89 GW, 17%) and Germany (56.1 GW, 10%). The share of the top 10 countries of the rating in the global wind energy mix is 85%.
In 2017, the cumulative offshore wind power capacity grew by 4.3 GW amounting to 18.8 GW worldwide. The United Kingdom remains the absolute global leader in this field.
According to Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary-General, these figures point at the rapid development of global wind energy in the process of transition to market relations, and its ability to compete on equal footing with other substantially more subsidized sources of energy generation. In most markets, wind energy becomes the most competitive energy generation technology. Mr Sawyer states that the drop in capacity growth rates is due to legislative barriers in a number of jurisdictions stifling global integration processes. Moreover, 2017 saw a sharp decline in prices per kWh of electricity generated by wind turbines, resulting in lower profits for the sector's entire production chain. A decline in profits is still a small price to pay for an energy revolution that will supply the world with the maximum amount of cheap energy without the use of fossil fuels.