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Major progress on wind in 2009

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2009 is in danger of being remembered as the year of the Copenhagen ‘failure’ and Obama’s failure to get a cap-and-trade bill through the US Senate. However, it should be remembered as a year when, despite extremely difficult economic conditions, major polluting countries made substantial progress in expanding wind energy.

"The Global Wind Energy Council this week announced that the world's wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 gigawatts (GW) to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW. A third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth. The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009."

(See Renewable Energy World.com: Global Wind Installations Boom, Up 31% in 2009.)

The top ten countries, by total installed capacity, and with additional 2009 capacity listed, are:

   

Total installed capacity (Gw)

2009 additional capacity (Gw)

   

 

 

1

USA

35.16

9.92

2

Germany

25.78

1.9

3

China

25.1

13

4

Spain

19.15

2.5

5

India

10.92

1.27

6

Italy

4.85

1.1

7

France

4.49

1.1

8

UK

4.95

1.1

9

Portugal

3.54

n/a

10

Denmark

3.47

n/a

This progress is encouraging and must be sustained in 2010. However, it must be remembered that there is still an enormously long way to travel before the world is 100% reliant on renewables. For example:

"China's renewable energy consumption accounted for 8.3 percent of the total in 2009, according to an official with the National Energy Administration."

(See Reuter UK: China renewable energy use 8.3 pct of total in 2009 – official.)

In the EU:

"… the wind capacity installed by the end of 2009 will in a normal year produce 163 TWh of electricity, meeting 4.8% of total EU power demand."

(See Your Story: More Wind Power Capacity Installed Last Year in the EU Than any Other Power Technology.)

Despite its impressive progress in 2009, the US gets a similarly low proportion of energy from renewables.

By Stephen Tindale

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Climate change is the most serious issue ever to have faced humanity. Rightly, it is now high on the public, political, media and business agendas. However, too much of the discussion is still about what we should not be doing or what we should be against. There is not enough discussion or information on solutions - what we can and should do to minimise dangerous climate change, and what should be done to make us not only safer and more secure, but also richer and happier.


Stephen Tindale photoStephen Tindale (29 March 1963 – 1 July 2017) was a British environmentalist who was Executive Director of Greenpeace UK from 2000 to 2005. He was Director of The Alvin Weinberg Foundation, co-founder of the organisation Climate Answers, Associate Fellow at the Centre for European Reform and co-author of Repowering Communities with Prashant Vaze.