Wind power capacity increased by almost a fifth across the globe in 2019, according to research carried out by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The growth was primarily due to a record number of new offshore windfarms being built, as well as a large increase in onshore projects in both China and the US.
The GWEC revealed that global wind capacity grew by 60.4 gigawatts in 2019. This is a 19% increase on the capacity recorded for 2018, making it one of the strongest years ever recorded for the industry.
A record year for offshore wind boosted growth in the sector, accounting for a tenth of all new windfarm installations, and resulted a 6.1GW increase in capacity.
China and the US are still the largest global markets for onshore wind power development, according to the report. Combined, the two markets account for roughly two-thirds of the growth in wind power globally.
The council says that the overall impact that COVID-19 will have on the industry is hard to predict, but it had originally expected a 20% growth for the coming year as it anticipated 2020 being another record year.
The GWEC is still hopeful that the coronavirus pandemic could provide an opportunity for the wind industry to get ahead. This is despite the virus possibly causing a slowdown of the industry as projects grind to a halt along with the economy-wide stalling of infrastructure and manufacturing projects.
The council believes that the economy could experience a watershed moment as a result of the pandemic, and said that governments should utilise investments in the wind power industry to help boost the recovery of economies worldwide.
Dr Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, also urged governments to support economic growth by utilising investments into cleaner energy, or else COVID-19 would halt the progress that has been made.
“We have an important window of opportunity,” said Birol. “Major economies around the world are preparing stimulus packages. A well-designed stimulus package could offer economic benefits and facilitate a turnover of energy capital which have huge benefits for the clean energy transition”.
The chief executive of GWEC, Ben Backwell, said that global growth in the clean energy sector is far from where it should be in order to reach the climate goals of the Paris agreement.
“If we are to have any chance at reaching our Paris agreement objectives and remaining on a 1.5C pathway, we need to be installing at least 100GW of wind energy per year, and this needs to rise to 200GW per year and beyond,” said Backwell.
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