After years of strong growth, the wind energy industry experienced a significant slowdown in 2010 as a result of the global economic recession. Given the 18-month project cycle for a wind farm from feasibility study to electricity production, the global downturn had a delayed impact on the pace of new wind power installations. Wind power experienced strong cumulative growth in 2008 (29%) and 2009 (32%), due to a large volume of projects that had been initiated in late 2006 through 2008. However, 2010 results (22% growth) reflect the impact of the recession on what is still one of the world's most significant renewable energy markets.
According to a new report from Pike Research, growth rates of new wind installations will continue to fall short of the industry's boom years. However, turbine deployment activity remains strong and overall capacity will continue to rise at a healthy pace. The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that total wind generation capacity, including both onshore and offshore projects, will increase from 194.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2010 to 562.9 GW by 2017. By that year, Pike Research forecasts that wind power installations will represent a $153 billion global industry, up from $56 billion in 2010.
"Despite the challenging market conditions for the wind energy industry, this is a dynamic time for innovation in the market," says senior analyst Peter Asmus. "Equipment vendors are pushing turbines to sizes never before thought practical or economical. Some of the world's top engineering challenges of the 21st century are taking place in factories longer than football fields. But there is also much at stake as the companies push technological limits and take major market risks in an increasingly competitive sector."
Asmus adds that China's leadership in wind energy deployment is both an opportunity and a challenge for European and American companies looking to compete in that market and internationally. Europe remains a technology leader and is exploring the next frontier of wind energy with offshore deployments. The United States is lagging in many respects, but most industry players are optimistic about the future as costs continue to drop dramatically. In some markets, wind energy has already reached grid parity, a trend that Asmus says will continue to become more common around the world.
Pike Research's report, "Global Wind Energy Outlook", provides an in-depth analysis of global opportunities in the onshore and offshore wind energy markets, as well as an examination of key challenges facing the industry. It examines technology innovations that will influence the future direction of the market and also features detailed profiles of key industry players, including a competitive regional analysis of the three major wind energy markets today across their respective technology, policy, and capital environments. Market forecasts extend through 2017 and include projections for installed capacity, installation costs, and offshore production revenue, all segmented by onshore, offshore, region, and country.
source: pike research