Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wind-power Rankings

Wind power supplies a small but rapidly growing proportion of world energy supply. According to Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, "global installed wind power capacity will top 100,000 megawatts in March 2008."

The Institute says in a new report that the "cost of onshore wind power has decreased by more than 80 percent since the early 1980s to roughly 7¢ per kilowatt-hour at favorable wind sites." Wind is now competitive with conventional power generation in some markets, but in most others subsidies for conventional energy sources makes it uncompetitive. "If the full cost of carbon emissions were incorporated into the price of natural gas and coal, onshore wind would become the cheapest electricity source."

Some highlights of the report:

Germany leads the world in installed wind power capacity, with 22,200 megawatts, but it seems to have run out of offshore sites for installation of new capacity while other countries have scope for rapid growth. In 2007 the United States, Spain, China, and India installed more new capacity than Germany.

The United States installed a quarter of the world's new wind energy capacity in 2007: 5,240 megawatts. Spain was second, with 3,520 megawatts, and it now ranks third in the world in total installed wind capacity with 15,100 megawatts. India installed 1,730 megawatts of new wind power capacity in 2007, for a total of 8,000 megawatts. China installed 3,450 megawatts of wind capacity for a total of 6,050 megawatts.

France, which aims to generate 25,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020, got off to a running start in 2007 with a 57 percent increase in captity, to 2,450 megawatts.

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