Global wind capacity grew by 29 percent in 2008 with America passing Germany to become the world’s leading wind power generator. Worldwatch, a Washington-based research organization said that global wind capacity rose by over 27,000 megawatts, to 120,798 MW last year. Wind now provides 1.5 percent of the world’s energy demand, up from 0.1 percent in 1997. U.S. wind capacity increased by 50 percent to 25,170 MW, or 21 percent of global capacity.
In Europe, wind represented the leading source of new power capacity, with 8,877 MW installed last year. This was 28 percent more than new natural gas capacity and over 10 times more than new coal.
Europe now generates 65,946 MW of wind power, or 55 percent of global capacity. Germany still leads in Europe, generating 23,903 MW of wind power, but saw new installations drop slightly in 2008.
In Asia, China was the second globally in new capacity last year, adding some 6,300 MW to bring its total to over 12,200 MW. China has officially surpassed its 2010 goal of 10,000 megawatts of installed wind power and a senior energy official said in April the country will have 100,000 MW in place by 2020.