Global wind industry sets record for new wind energy in 2014
April 14, 2015
The Global Wind Energy Council, more commonly known as GWEC, recently released its annual Wind Energy Market report.
Just as we did in Canada, the global wind industry set a new record for annual wind energy installations in 2014, with more than 51,000 MW installed around the world. Global wind energy capacity is now 369,553 MW – more than 7 and a half times greater than a decade ago at the end of 2004. Over the past five years, there has been more new wind energy built in the United States and Europe than new coal-fired generation, nuclear power or hydroelectric power. Wind energy has clearly established itself as a cost-competitive, mainstream source of new power generation.
In this year’s GWEC report, Canada ranks 6th in terms of new installed capacity with the addition of 1,871 MW of wind energy in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and PEI, and 7th in terms of overall cumulative capacity – an increase from last year’s 9th place ranking.
Despite the rapid growth of wind energy in Canada and the United States, however, GWEC states that the North American market continues to be one of the most difficult to predict in terms of future growth. While both Canada and the United States are projected to have strong years in 2015 and 2016, policy uncertainty clouds the picture in 2017 and beyond.
Wind energy is well positioned to meet Canada’s future electricity needs in a clean, reliable and cost-competitive way while also helping Canada to address the global climate change challenge. With international climate change negotiators working towards concluding an agreement at the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference later this year, the time is now for Canada’s federal and provincial governments to commit to more wind energy in Canada. My colleague, Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC, has stated “the wind power industry is a key solution to climate change, air pollution, energy security, price stability and a driver of new industries and employment. Let’s hope the climate negotiators get that message and come up with something useful in Paris in December.” I wholeheartedly agree!