Coming off a record year in 2015, where a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances pushed the Chinese market to 30 GW and the global market past 60 GW, 2016 was a solid if mostly unspectacular year for the wind power industry. More than 54 GW of clean renewable power was installed across the global market, which now comprises more than 90 countries, including 9 with more than 10,000 MW installed, and 29 which have now passed the 1,000 MW mark.
Cumulative capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8 GW. Wind power penetration levels continue to increase, led by Denmark pushing 40%, followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with well over 20%, Spain and Cyprus around 20%, Germany at 16%; and the big markets of China, the US and Canada get 4, 5.5, and 6% of their power from wind, respectively.
Much of the reduction from the 2015 market was because China ‘only’ installed 23 GW instead of 2015’s phenomenal 30 GW. The 2015 numbers were driven by an impending cut in the feed-in-tariff which came into effect in January 2016. We face the same situation again in 2017, with an impending tariff reduction on January 2018. While we don’t think the numbers will go back up to 30 GW there will likely be a modest increase in 2017.