Annual statistics recently released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) once again show the massive growth in cumulative wind power capacity in Asia, to 82,398 MW last year from 61,106 MW at the end of 2010.
When matched with Asia’s continuing population increases, the GWEC statistics seem to indicate that the region as a whole is well placed to incorporate even greater amounts of wind power into its grids in coming decades as the world replaces dirty carbon energy sources with green sustainable electricity.
Trailing behind only the EU, which had a total of 93,957 MW of installed wind power capacity by the end of 2011, Asia was the second place regional leader with a total of 82,398 MW of installed wind capacity.
Its population, however, was number one: recent estimates indicate that 3.9 billion people reside in Asia, roughly 55% of the 7 billion people living in the world today. Compare that to the EU, which has about 502 million people today, or about 7.2% of the global population.
Leading this Asian expansion, in both wind power and population, is China. With more than 1.3 billion residents, China increased its wind power capacity by 18,000 MW last year, bringing its cumulative total — the highest for any nation in the world, ahead of the US in the number two national spot and Germany in third place — to 62,733 MW.
“2011 was not an easy year for the Chinese wind industry. However, in the end, the industry has come out quite well, not only surviving the year, but also becoming more resilient to the various challenges. We expect the industry will grow stronger and more competitive in the next year,” Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA), said.
India, which has a population of more than 1.2 billion people, was the second Asian nation in terms of wind power capacity by the end of last year. An additional 3,019 MW was installed in India in 2011, bringing its cumulative total to 16,084 MW.
Japan, which has approximately 127 million residents, had the third highest cumulative wind power capacity in Asia last year. With an additional 168 MW installed in 2011, Japan had a cumulative total of 2,501 MW.
GWEC statistics show that Asian wind power capacity is also increasing, albeit more slowly, in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Considering Asia’s wind power growth, its huge population wanting a bigger share of resources and access to energy, and its increasing economic clout — China, Japan and India are now considered the second, third and fourth largest economies in the world, behind only the US — it seems clear the region will indeed influence much of the 21st century.