Major Markets Continue To Determine Wind’s Path

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LONDON — Although its forecast for 2013 involves a “much more significant drop” in the global wind market than last year’s prediction, downgrading from its advanced to its moderate scenario, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is ultimately bullish on wind, predicting that worldwide installed capacity will pass 500 GW by 2017.

Wind continues to grow worldwide, with significant new activity in Latin America, Africa and Asia outside China and India. But, says GWEC, developments in the major markets of Europe, China and the US are still the main determinants of global growth.
In its annual market outlook, GWEC cited a major drop in US installations, slower than expected recoveries in China and India, and a slowdown in Europe as contributors to its reduced forecast. The trade body predicts that annual installations will drop this year by more than 11 percent, to just under 40 GW, but will recover sharply in 2014 to slightly exceed 2012’s market, averaging just over 11 percent annual growth from 2014 to 2017. Average for the five years to 2017 is expected to be almost 7 percent, with an annual total of 61 GW in 2017.
In cumulative terms, GWEC predicts a total global capacity of around 536 GW in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of about 13.7 percent.
The Issues
Continued uncertainty over the global economy’s short-term development hangs over this forecast, and GWEC expects the downward pressure on turbine prices, caused by sluggish markets and manufacturing overcapacity, to continue. In addition, the trade body reports that increasing use of local content requirements and trade restrictions adds a significant burden for investors.