Offshore wind turbine projects along with new onshore ventures in China and the United States have provided one of the strongest recorded years for wind power.
The global capacity of wind power increased by nearly 20 per cent in 2019. This is mainly down to a boom for offshore wind turbine projects and increased growth for onshore based projects in China and the United States.
For 2019, the Global Wind Energy Council has estimated that the capacity of wind power worldwide increased by 60.4 gigawatts. This was a growth of 19 per cent when compared with the year prior, 2018. This made last year a standout year in the growth of the wind power industry.
One of the main underlying factors for this growth was down to the record growth in the offshore wind sector. This sector alone increased by 6.1 gigawatts and therefore made up a tenth of all new wind power installations for the first time ever.
The annual report from the council also found that China and the United States are still the largest markets in the world for onshore windfarm constructions. These two countries alone make up nearly two thirds of all the growth in the global wind power sector.
The council also expect that 2020 will be another record year, this time for the introduction of wind energy projects with a precited growth of 20 per cent for the coming year, however the effects that the global pandemic coronavirus could have on this are unknown at this time.
The virus could end up slowing down the construction of energy projects due to the global slowdown and in some cases shutdown of certain industries. This may slowdown the manufacturing and development of infrastructure for new projects. However, Covid-19 could also present new opportunities for the wind power sector.
The outbreak may end up being an economic watershed and the GWEC have are urging governments to try and make use of the upcoming and growing industry to help strengthen to economy during its economic recovery.
The head of the International Energy Agency has echoed what the council have urged governments. Dr Fatih Birol has stated that the pandemic may undermine any progress made in the green energy sector unless governments can use this time to invest in the sector to help galvanise economic growth.
Birol went on to state how we have an important window of opportunity and that as countries are preparing stimulus packages for their respective economies, a well thought out stimulus package will ensure good economic benefits whilst allowing a turnover of energy capital which could hugely benefit the transition into using cleaner energy sources.
The chief executive of the Global Wind Energy Council, Ben Backwell, has said that the growth of clean energy globally is currently not where it needs to be to make sure that global temperatures do not rise too much in line with the Paris agreement.
Backwell stated that if there is any chance of the objectives of the Paris agreement being met and therefore only allowing a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius then at least 100 gigawatts of wind power should be installed every year with it growing to 200 gigawatts installed each year further down the line.
It is expected that wind installations globally will increase by 76 gigawatts this year however a new prediction will be made in the second quarter of this year by the council which will take into consideration the effects that the global pandemic coronavirus may have on the industry.