Wind industry to install 71.3 GW in 2020 despite COVID-19


According to the new market outlook released by GWEC Market Intelligence, 71.3 GW of wind power capacity is projected to be installed in 2020 despite the effect of COVID-19, which is just 6 percent lower than pre-COVID projections.

This is a substantial improvement from the initial projections that wind power installations will be reduced by up to 20 percent as a result of the pandemic, showing the strength of the wind power industry across the globe.

From 2020 to 2024, the cumulative global demand for wind energy will expand at a compound annual rate of 8.5 percent and build 348 GW of new capacity, bringing total global wind power capacity to almost 1,000 GW by the end of 2024, an increase of 54 percent for total wind power plants compared to 2019.

Although some project completion dates have been postponed to 2021 due to a pandemic, the next year is projected to be a record year for the wind industry with 78 GW of new wind energy expected to be completed in 2021.

Over 50 percent of the onshore wind capacity added between 2020 and 2024 will be deployed in China and the US, with installation rushes to reach the subsidy deadlines.

The offshore wind sector has been largely insulated from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, and GWEC Market Intelligence has also increased its forecast for offshore wind by 5 percent to 6.5 GW of new installations in 2020, another record year for the industry, driven by the construction rush in China.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has impacted every industry across the world, wind power has continued to grow and thrive. This is no surprise given the cost competitiveness of wind energy and the need to rapidly reproduce carbon emissions. Fossil fuel industries face market fluctuations and require bailouts to stay afloat, while wind turbines across the world have continued to spin and provide affordable, clean energy to citizens everywhere.

“Thanks to the localised nature of wind power supply chains and project construction, the sector has continued to generate billions in local investment and thousands of jobs to support economic recovery. However, in order to tap into the full potential of wind power to drive a green recovery, governments must ensure that energy markets and policies allow a continued ramp up in investment in wind and other renewables, while disincentivising investment in expensive and declining fossil fuel industries.”

Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC.

“China and the US will continue to be the two main markets driving growth over the next few years. We have increased or maintained our forecasts for onshore wind in regions such as Latin America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East over the next five years, with only minor decreases in Asia Pacific and Europe. However, these reductions are not necessarily a direct impact of COVID-19, but also a symptom of pre-existing regulatory issues, such as protracted permitting procedures, which are slowing down installations. In particular, offshore wind has demonstrated its resilience by exceeding our pre-pandemic forecasts for 2020, and will be an important source of growth in the decade ahead.

“We have seen a series of carbon neutrality commitments by major economies such as China, Japan and South Korea over the past few weeks. Since wind power is a key technology for decarbonisation, these targets will increase the forecast for wind power over the next few decades. However, the right enabling regulatory and policy frameworks must be in place to accelerate renewable energy growth to meet these targets. China, the world’s largest wind power market and largest carbon emitter, has pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2060. To have a chance at achieving this target, we need to be installing 50 GW of wind power per year in China from now until 2025, and then 60 GW from 2026 onwards. It is crucial that governments firm up carbon neutrality targets with tangible actions to drive wind and other renewable energy growth at the levels needed to achieve these aims.”

Feng Zhao, strategy director at GWEC.
Nedim Husomanovic

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