The global wind power industry has experienced exceptional growth for over a decade, mainly boosted by soaring wind power installation capacities from the world’s largest wind energy producing countries. With the growing demand for alternative and eco-friendly energy around the world, wind power has emerged to become one of the most cost-effective renewable energy sources with low carbon emissions. Therefore, many of the world’s major countries have been rapidly investing and increasing the capacity of their wind power installations in recent years. While the wind power installations continue to grow globally, the world’s top 10 largest wind energy producing countries, namely China, USA, Germany, India, Spain, UK, France, Brazil, Canada and Italy are expected to maintain their dominance in the global wind power industry in the near future, due to their high newly installed capacities year on year.
Wind power, alongside with solar thermal, PV systems, and hydroelectricity, are currently the most common renewable energy sources in the world. How is wind energy produced? Wind power is generated by kinetic energy from wind that is converted into mechanical power or electricity via wind turbines, therefore its clean, sustainable, low in cost and does not produce any carbon dioxide emissions. According to a recent market report from ReportLinker, the global wind energy market size increased from approximately US$24 Billion in 2006 to over US$100 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 15.6%. During 2017-2025, the wind power market size is expected to grow to over US$110 Billion.
When it comes to wind power capacity, the World Wind Energy Association reports that the global wind power capacity by the end of 2017 reached 539,291 Megawatts (MW). The new installations of wind power capacity reached 52,552 megawatts globally in 2017. All wind turbines installed by end of 2017 can cover more than 5% of the global electricity demand. For many countries, wind power has become a pillar in their strategies to phase out fossil and nuclear energy. In 2017, Denmark set a new world record with 43% of its power coming from wind. An increasing number of countries have reached a double-digit wind power share, including Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden or Uruguay.
So where are wind turbines located and which country produces the most wind energy? China is currently leading the chart of the highest wind energy producing country in the world, representing over 35% of the world’s total wind power capacity. In 2017, China installed an additional 19 Gigawatts (gw) of wind power capacity and maintained its undisputed position as the world’s largest wind power market, with a total cumulated wind capacity of 188 Gigawatt by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, some of the major Chinese wind turbine makers, such as Goldwind, United Power, and Envision Energy are nowadays also among the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers in the world.
Other largest wind power producing countries include the USA (6.8 Gigawatt added in 2017, reaching 89 Gigawatt in total), Germany (6.1 Gigawatt added in 2017, overall 56 Gigawatt), India (4.6 Gigawatt added, 32.9 Gigawatt total capacity) United Kingdom (3.3 Gigawatt new, 17.9 Gigawatt total), Brazil (2 Gigawatt new, 12.8 Gigawatt total) and France (1.7 Gigawatt new, 13.8 Gigawatt total) etc. Here is a comprehensive look at the top 10 largest wind energy producing countries in the world by newly installed capacity and cumulative capacity so far.
|Rank||Country||Newly Installed in 2017(MW)||Share in World (%)|
Source: Global Wind Energy Council
|Rank||Country||Cumulative Installed by end-2017 (MW)||Share in World (%)|
Source: Global Wind Energy Council
China has emerged as the largest wind power producer and the driving force behind the global wind power capacity growth since the mid-2000s. In 2014, China added a record-breaking 23.35 gigawatts of new wind power capacity, raising its cumulative capacity to almost 115 gigawatts. In recent years, China has increased its investments in the renewable energy sector with a focus on wind power. By the end of 2017, China has installed a total 188,392 mw wind power capacity, making it the world’s largest wind energy producing country once again. In order to further meet its domestic wind power demand, China aims to install another 10GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2020.
The USA is the world’s second-largest wind power producer by capacity, with a total installed capacity nearly 89.1GW at the end of 2017. As the end of 2017, the country had over 52,000 commercial wind turbines operating in 41 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico, and it already announced plans to build 11 new wind farms across seven states in the US, with a total capacity of 3.38GW in 2018.
With an installed capacity of 56.1GW in 2017, Germany is the third largest wind energy producer in the world. In September 2017, German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) launched a tender for 1GW of onshore wind capacity. The country plans to increase its installed wind capacity through tenders for 2.8GW per year from 2017 to 2019.
As the global demand for renewable energy continues to grow, the capacity of wind power installations is expected to steadily rise around the world over the next few years. The goal is simple as the percentage of wind energy used in the world increases; by 2030 wind power could supply up to 19 percent of the world’s electricity, and that number could grow to 25-20 percent by 2050. The world’s largest top wind energy producing countries will likely further increase their investment in wind turbine installations, as well as more intense Research & Development activities towards wind energy technologies, efficiency and wind turbine management software etc. It is forecast that the global additions of new wind power capacity will be 689 GW over the next 10 years, which will bring the cumulative installations to 1,160 GW by the end of 2027, and these top 10 wind energy producing countries will remain as the main driving force for the future growth.