Global wind capacity increased an estimated 27,051MW in 2008, with cumulative installations up almost 29 per cent, according to the Worldwatch Institute. The US led in new installations, surpassing Germany to rank first in wind energy cumulative capacity and electricity generation.
A new snapshot of wind energy trends from Worldwatch Institute reveals that for the first time last year, wind power represented Europe’s leading source of new electric capacity (with 8,877MW added), well ahead of natural gas at 6,939MW and coal at 763MW. By the end of 2008, wind power accounted for eight per cent of EU power capacity, enough to generate 4.2 percent of the region’s electricity in a normal wind year.
Asia accounted for almost one-third of global wind capacity, with China quickly surpassing its 2010 wind target of 10,000MW and ending 2008 with 12,200MW in place.
Nearly 400,000 people are employed by the wind industry worldwide, though this number could slide in the near term due to project financing difficulties, particularly in the US. However, the economic crisis has resulted in cheaper material and construction costs that are expected to lower turbine prices, a potential boon for long-term installation projections.
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