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The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is forecasting that the global wind market will grow by over 155% to reach 240 GW of total installed capacity by 2012. In its annual Global Wind Energy Report 2007, GWEC has adjusted its previous forecast to take into account the unexpectedly strong increase in wind energy deployment around the world. The report will be presented at the European Wind Energy Conference in Brussels on April 1.

The council now forecasts an addition of 146 GW in the coming five years, equaling an investment of more than $277 billion. The electricity produced by wind energy will, in 2012, reach over 500 TWh (up from 200 TWh in 2007), accounting for close to 3% of global electricity consumption (up from just over 1% in 2007).

"The wind energy market continues to achieve tremendous growth rates and has now hit 20 GW of new installations per year," says GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer. "As a result, we have had to revise even our most ambitious estimates. The fastest areas of growth for the next five years will be North America and Asia, and more specifically the U.S. and China."

The reasons for this adjustment are due to significant growth in the U.S. and China and the emergence of significant manufacturing capacity in China, according to GWEC.

The North American market will grow more strongly than previously thought, led by significant growth in the U.S., as well as sustained development of the Canadian market. In total, North America will see an addition of 42.6 GW in the next five years, reaching 61.3 GW of total capacity in 2012. This represents an average of 8.5 GW of new capacity added every year, the bulk of which will be in the U.S.

These figures assume that the U.S. production tax credit will continue to be renewed in time for the current strong growth to continue. Moreover, the high-level engagement of an increasing number of U.S. states, about half of which have enacted renewable portfolio standards, will also assure sustained growth, according to GWEC.


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