RENEWABLE ENERGY

Wind power expands worldwide

IN figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council, 2004 saw 7976MW of wind power installed internationally, a 20% increase in total generating capacity that brings the world total to 47,317MW.

Wind power expands worldwide

According to the statistics, Europe led the way in 2004 by accounting for 5744MW of installed power, or 72.4% of the global total.

Asia followed with 1269MW (15.9%), the US had 512MW (6.4%), Pacifica had 325MW (4.1%) and Latin America and the Caribbean both installed 47MW (0.6%).

Wind energy in Australia has almost doubled since the beginning of 2004, with a total of 380MW installed throughout the year.

“Europe is the global leader in wind energy, but we are witnessing the globalisation of the wind energy markets,” said Arthouros Zervos, president of the European Wind Energy Association.

“In Europe, the market has experienced average annual growth rates of 22% over the past six years. However the further rapid progress that the industry is capable of delivering is constrained by barriers such as grid access and administrative hurdles.”

The slow growth in the US wind power sector has been attributed to delays in extending the federal production tax credit for wind energy that expired in December 2003 and was not renewed until October 2004.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) believes this will increase productivity to a projected installation of 2000MW in 2005, but the expiration of the credit again (in December 2005) casts a pall of uncertainty over the market.

“For wind energy to contribute a substantially larger share to the nation’s electricity, companies need a stable planning horizon comparable at least to that of conventional technologies,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher.

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