Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wind Energy Grows by 25%

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as electricity, using wind turbines. At the end of 2008, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 121.2 gigawatts (GW). In 2008, wind power produced about 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage; and is growing rapidly, having doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008.

World Wind Energy Association forecasts a total installed capacity of 152,000 MW worldwide by the end of 2009, which will mean a new record of over 30,000 MW newly installed capacity within one year. This represents a market growth of 25% compared with last year. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration. As of May 2009, eighty countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.

United States

As of April 30, 2009, wind power in the United States had reached 28,635 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, and in 2008 the U.S. surpassed Germany as the country with the largest amount of installed wind power capacity. The American Wind Energy Association has reported that wind projects installed through the end of 2008 were expected to generate 52 million megawatt-hours/year (MWh/yr), representing 1.26% of the nation’s electricity in 2008.


Wind power in Germany produces about six percent of its total electrical power and it is said that no other country has more technological know-how in this area. Wind power in Germany provides over 70,000 people with jobs and German wind energy systems are also exported. Repowering, the replacement of first-generation wind turbines with modern multi-megawatt machines, is occurring in Germany. Modern turbines make better use of available wind energy and so more wind power can come from the same area of land.


Spain is the world's third biggest producer of wind power, after the United States and Germany, with an installed capacity of 16,740 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2008, a rise of 1,609 MW for the year. On particular windy days, wind power generation has surpassed all other electricity sources in Spain, including nuclear. On April 18, 2008 the all time peak for wind generation was seen (10,879 MW, 32% of Spain's power requirement), and on November 24, 2008 wind energy produced 43% of demand.


At the end of 2008, wind power in China accounted for 12.2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity and China has identified wind power as a key growth component of the country's economy. China is the fourth largest producer of wind power, after the United States, Germany, and Spain. By the end of 2008, at least 15 Chinese companies were commercially producing wind turbines and several dozen more were producing components.


Wind power in Denmark provided 19.7 percent of electricity production in 2007, a significantly higher proportion than in any other country. Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s, and today almost half of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas.

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