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India, China slip on new wind capacity addition in ’12, US zooms

According to reports, China and India, which led wind power capacity addition in 2011, saw fall in new capacity addition in 2012, while US added significantly higher capacity during the year compared with previous calendar year.

Despite lower capacity addition during 2012, China retained its top position in the new capacity addition table, while India slipped to fourth position from third in 2011. US and Germany occupied second and third positions in 2012 top new capacity addition markets.

With China and US contributing a little over 13 gw (giga watts) each, global wind energy industry saw a total capacity addition of 44.7 gw of new wind power during 2012, registering a rise of 10 per cent when compared with 2011’s annual capacity addition of 40.5 gw. The cumulative wind power capacity globally reached 2,82,430 mw (mega watts), up by 19 per cent from 2,38,035 mw in 2011.

“A record year for US installations and a slower market in China mean that the two countries all but tied for the top spot in 2012. While China paused for breathe, the US and European markets had exceptionally strong years. Asia still led global markets, but with North America a close second, and Europe not far behind,” Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said in a statement.

“In a last minute rush due to the anticipated expiration of the US’ production tax credit at the end of December, the US industry installed over 8,000 mw in the fourth quarter of 2012, ending up at 13,124 mw for the year, for all practical purposes tied with China. “Asia still led global markets, but with North America a close second, and Europe not far behind,” he added.

Both Chinese and Indian markets slowed in 2012, with annual installations of 13.2 and 2.3 gw, respectively. Market consolidation and rationalisation in China, and a lapse in policy in India were the main reasons, but these conditions are expected to be short-lived, and Asian dominance of global wind markets is expected to continue.

China’s new capacity addition stood at 13,200 mw for 2012 as against 18,000 mw in 2011, while US added a whopping 13,124 mw capacity in 2012 compared with 6,810 mw in 2011. India added 2,336 mw in 2012 compared with 3,019 mw in 2011. Germany added improvements in annual capacity addition at 2,439 mw compared with 2,086 mw in 2011.

European markets, led by Germany and the UK, with surprising contributions from ‘emerging markets’ in Sweden, Romania, Italy and Poland, accounted for 12.4 gw in 2012 compared with new capacity addition of 10.3 gw in 2011.

However, on-going sovereign debt crises mean that the outlook for the 2013 market is uncertain, although Europe’s framework legislation and its 2020 targets ensure a degree of stability. But, Europe continued to lead offshore markets, with a 1,166 mw installations in 2012.

Brazil led an otherwise relatively quiet Latin America market with 1,077 mw, to bring its total installed capacity to just over 2,500 mw, and Australia accounted for all of the new installations in the Pacific region, with 358 mw of new capacity in 2012 for a cumulative total of 2,584 mw.

The MENA region had another quiet year, with only one 50 mw project completed in Tunisia, but sub-Saharan Africa’s first large commercial wind farm came on line in 2012, a 52 mw project in Ethiopia. “This is just the beginning of the African market. With construction started on 500+ mw in South Africa, we expect Africa to be a substantial new market, where clean, competitive energy generated with indigenous sources is a priority for economic development,” said Sawyer.

Of the total global wind power capacity of 2,82,282 mw at the end of December 2012, China leads the table with 26.8 per cent share followed by US at 21.2 per cent share, Germany at 11.1 per cent Spain at 8.1 per cent and India at 6.5 per cent.

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