International Energy Agency (IEA) Wind member countries added more than 17,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity in 2008 for a total of nearly 92,000 MW, according to a new IEA report. More than half of the 20 member countries added at least 200 MW of new capacity each, and four countries added more than 1,000 MW: the United States (8,558 MW), Germany (1,665 MW), Spain (1,609 MW), and Italy (1,010 MW).
IEA Wind member countries — located in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Pacific Region –provide 75 percent of worldwide wind generating capacity, according to the organization.
In 2008, electrical production from wind increased more than 25 percent in IEA Wind countries to reach about 194 TWh. This electrical production met 2.3 percent of the total electrical demand in 2008 up from 1.64 percent in 2007.
At the close of 2008, three-quarters of the nearly 121 GW of the world’s wind generating capacity was operating in the IEA Wind member countries. Total generating capacity for each country varied greatly, from the United States with 25,369 MW to Switzerland with about 14 MW, according to the report.
The growth rate in many countries far exceeded the average of 23 percent, reports IEA. As an example, in the United States, wind energy capacity grew more than 50 percent in 2008 and accounted for 42 percent of that nation’s new electrical generation for the year. The report also indicates that Australia had the highest growth rate at 58 percent, while 11 countries had growth rates exceeding 23 percent for the year.
In Europe wind power installations alone made up almost 36 percent of new power installations and grew more than any other power generating technology.
The report also indicates that many of the countries report planning for much more capacity for 2009 and beyond. The capacity of projects planned or under construction is more than three times the capacity added in 2008.
Here are a few examples cited in the report. Mexico has 330 MW of capacity under construction, nearly four times the capacity operating at the close of 2008. In the United States, more than 4,000 MW were under construction at the beginning of 2009, more than half the capacity added in 2008. In the UK, more than 7,000 MW had received planning approval and 1,665 MW were under construction. Australia has another 6,359 MW planned or under construction.
The report also reveals that the UK is now the world leader in offshore wind energy, with 598 MW installed capacity. More offshore capacity is in the planning stages and could be connected as early as 2009: Denmark (28 MW), Germany (512 MW), Sweden (30 MW), and the UK (90 MW).
Another finding shows that significant offshore resources have been identified in Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain.
Adding to this year’s wind capacity expansion, BP plans to expand its wind power electricity generation capacity in the U.S., but has sold its Indian unit, BP Energy India Private Limited (BPEIPL) to Green Infra Limited of India, reports Eco World.
BPEIPL owns and operates three wind farms in India with a total generating capacity of about 100 megawatts, according to Eco World.
Over the past three years, BP has developed a wind business in the U.S. with interests in over 1,000 MW of installed generating capacity and more than 1,000 MW capacity at an advanced stage of development. In total, BP’s U.S. wind energy portfolio consists of almost 100 projects, with a total potential generating capacity of up to 20,000 MW.