By Gary Thomas
A new research report from the Worldwatch Institute states that China leads in the global growth capacity for installed wind power.
The global growth rate for wind power capacity is continuing to grow at a lower rate than before due to various factors.
In 2011, the global installed wind capacity was four times more than that in 2005. In 2011 it grew at 21%, in 2010 at 24% and in 2009 at 31%. The investments for global wind energy installations in 2011 went down by 22% to $75 billion.
The increase in installed wind capacity was primarily due to better technology, reduction in price, incentive programs and increased investment. China leads with 43% share, the US with 17%, India 7% and Germany with 5% in the increased installed wind capacity. In 2011, the global price of wind power prices fell down to $1.2 million per MW.
China is not able to use all of its generated capacity due to grid connection challenges and technical problems. The country aims invest at least $400 billion over the next five years to improve and integrate its electrical grid.
In US, the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) has helped in the financing of around 4,000 MW through its 2.2 ¢ reduction in corporate income tax for a kWh of production. PTC is set to expire by the end of 2012 and an extension is required to benefit the industry.
In Europe, nearly 8% of Germany’s electricity consumption is due to wind power, while in Spain it is 16%. Economic instability has affected the growth in installed wind power.
Many factors including the excess capacity of Chinese manufacturers, supply chain efficiency, improved wind turbine capacity factor, and better technologies may help in reducing the cost of wind energy by 12% by 2016.