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In 2013, newly installed global wind capacity dropped by almost 10 GW from 2012's figures, totaling 35.467 GW, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). GWEC attributes the precipitous decrease last year to the slowdown in U.S. installations created by policy uncertainty.

However, the report also notes that cumulative global capacity reached 318.137 GW in 2013, an increase of nearly 200 GW in the past five years. And although 2013 marked another difficult year for the global industry with "only" 12.5% cumulative growth,  GWEC says the prospects for 2014 and beyond look much brighter.

“Outside of Europe and the U.S., the global market grew modestly last year, led by China and an exceptionally strong year in Canada,” explains GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer. “While the policy hiatus in the U.S. hit our 2013 figures hard, the good news is that projects under construction in the U.S. totaled more than 12,000 MW at year end, a new record. European installations were off by a modest eight percent, but with an unhealthy concentration of the market in just two countries - Germany and the U.K.”

GWEC says it welcomed the strong installation figures from China, noting that the consolidation phase for the Chinese industry that began after the peak year of 2010 seems to be over.

“China is a growth market again, which is good news for the industry,” says Sawyer. “The government’s commitment to wind power has been reinforced once again by raising the official target for 2020 to 200 GW, and the industry has responded.”

India has a new national “Wind Mission,” Brazil booked 4.7 GW of new projects in 2013, and Mexico’s electricity sector reform is set to ignite the market in the coming years, the report adds. While only chalking up 90 MW in installations in 2013, Africa is set to boom with new installations in 2014 led by South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

“Non-OECD markets are pretty healthy on the whole, and there is a steady stream of new markets emerging in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With the U.S. apparently back on track, at least for the next two years, the main challenge is stabilizing the European markets, both onshore and offshore, which have been rocked by political dithering over the past few years,” Sawyer concludes.



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