Not only did the American wind industry have a banner year, its seems that the world wide wind industry set a new record for growth and production in 2006. The usual suspects put up big numbers, like the US, Germany, and Spain. But newcomers India and China moved into the top five and Brazil took off with an over 700% increase in wind power production.
Wind energy continued its dynamic growth worldwide in the year 2006. 14,900MW were added in the past year summing up to a global installed capacity of 73,904MW by the end of December 2006. The added capacity equals a growth rate of 25 %, after 24 % in 2005. The currently installed wind power capacity generates more than 1 % of the global electricity consumption. Based on the accelerated development, WWEA has increased its prediction for 2010 and expects now 160,000MW to be installed by the end of 2010. Five countries added more than 1,000MW: the United States of America (2,454MW), Germany (2,194MW), India (1,840MW) and Spain (1,587MW) were able to secure their leading market positions and China (1,145MW) joint the group of the now top five markets and is now number five in terms of added capacity, showing a market growth of 91 %. Five countries added more than 500MW and showed excellent growth rates: France (810MW, 107 % growth), Canada (768MW, 112 %), Portugal (628MW, 61 %) and the United Kingdom (610MW, 45 %). The most dynamic market in 2006, Brazil, faced its long expected take off and added 208MW which equals a sevenfold increase of installed capacity within one year.
As impressive as these numbers are I think the important part to realize is that wind energy still only produces a little more than 1% of global electricity. That means that we could see growth in the industry like this for years if not decades before we reach a saturation of wind energy world wide.