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- What are the countries leading the way in wind energy capacity?
We know that wind energy is one of the key technologies for reaching the target of zero net emissions. Both onshore and offshore wind power have been steadily gaining ground at a global level, and in this post we take a look at the world’s biggest wind power producing countries.
Worldwide, wind power capacity once again showed signs of growth in 2021 and is now up to 837 GW, according to figures from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). This is the second best year in terms of new installed capacity, second only to 2020.
Evolution of worldwide installed capacity 2017-2021 (in GW)
Charts created by the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE).
The ranking of the countries that produce the most wind energy changes from year to year. However, there are countries with a long track record in this technology that have always been leaders, like the UK, whose enormous potential we’ve already discussed in earlier blog posts.
This post looks at the 2021 data provided by GWEC, which differentiates between the leaders in onshore and offshore wind.
Country ranking by cumulative onshore power.
China is the leading producer in both types of wind power, with a notable advantage over the second-ranked country. The Asian country is investing heavily in renewable energy and has to maintain its leading position if we want to achieve global carbon neutrality.
The country’s investment efforts and its natural resources mean that China is emerging as a frontrunner, not only in terms of the figures, but also because of its substantial commitment to R&D in the renewable energy sector as a whole.
Meanwhile, the United States hit a major milestone in 2022. Wind energy production surpassed nuclear for the first time to become the third largest source of production.
A diverse group of European countries (led by Germany), two emerging powers (India and Brazil) and Canada rank at a much lower power level.
Country ranking by cumulative offshore power.
China is home to almost half of the world’s accumulated offshore power. This is closely linked to its high capacity for building offshore farms. China built more offshore farms in 2021 than all other countries combined over five years.
The United Kingdom ranks behind the Asian giant, with a very prominent position as a result of its historical commitment to offshore wind farms. It is followed by Germany, which has just over half of the UK’s cumulative power. On a more limited scale, we see smaller countries with less coastline, such as the Netherlands and Denmark.
At Vector Renewables, we’re confident that wind power is going to be one of the technologies that will better contribute to the energy transition. Will it be more relevant than solar power? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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