The global wind industry had its second-best year in 2021 but the growth needs to quadruple by the end of the decade if the world is to stay on course for a 1.5 C pathway
The Global Wind Report for 2022 was recently published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). As per this report, the global wind industry had its second-best year in 2021, with almost 94 GW of capacity added globally, trailing behind the 2020’s record growth by only 1.8%.
Total global wind power capacity is now up to 837 GW, helping the world avoid over 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 annually – equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of South America.
557 GW of new capacity is expected to be added in the next five years. However, this growth needs to quadruple by the end of the decade if the world is to stay on course for a 1.5 C pathway, a target set by the Paris Agreement, and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Total global wind power capacity is the combined capacity of onshore and offshore wind energy. Onshore wind energy refers to turbines located on land and uses wind to generate electricity. Offshore wind energy is the energy generated from the wind at sea.
Onshore wind energy
- The global onshore wind market added 72.5 GW in 2021.
- Europe, Latin America, Africa & Middle East had record years for new onshore installations, but total onshore wind installation in 2021 was still 18% lower than the previous year.
- The decline was driven primarily by the slow-down of onshore wind growth in the world’s two largest wind power markets, China and the US. In the US, the decline was mainly due to COVID-19-associated supply chain issues and disruptions. In China, the government ended the subsidized feed-in tariff, which was designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies.
Offshore wind energy
- 21.1 GW of offshore wind capacity was commissioned last year, three times more than in 2020, making 2021 the best year in offshore wind history and bringing its market share in global new installations to 22.5% in 2021.
- China made up 80% of offshore wind capacity added worldwide in 2021, bringing its cumulative offshore wind installations to 27.7 GW.
The report urges governments to tackle issues such as planning barriers and grid connection challenges. To sustain and increase growth in wind-based generation capacity, policymakers are urged to streamline the procedures to grant permits, including land allocation and grid connection projects.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)
GWEC is a member-based organization that represents the entire wind energy sector. The members of GWEC represent over 1,500 companies, organizations, and institutions in more than 80 countries. It works at the highest international political level to create a better policy environment for wind power.
It was established in 2005 to provide a credible and representative forum for the entire wind energy sector at an international level. Its mission is to ensure that wind power is established as one of the world’s leading energy sources, providing substantial environmental and economic benefits. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.