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Global Wind Report 2021: a record 93 GW of new wind capacity in 2020

The 2021 edition of the Global Wind Report presented by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) presents the figures to new wind capacity in 2020 highlighting the role of the wind power on the road to global net zero economy.

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a record year for global wind power industry, with 93 GW of new capacity installed. This is about 53% more than in 2019, when 60.4 GW of new wind energy was installed. Total wind power capacity worldwide increased to 743 GW, a growth of 14% compared to last year, contributing to more than 1.1 billion tons of CO2 avoided globally. The lion's share of new installations was in the onshore wind market – 86.9 GW, while the offshore wind market reached 6.1 GW.

The world’s top five markets in 2020 for new installations – China, the US, Brazil, Netherlands and Germany – made up together 80.6% of global installations. As the year before, China and the U.S. are the most active in increasing their wind potential accounting for 56% and 18% of all new global installed capacities, respectively. With a significant increase in new projects in 2020, Brazil ranks third with 3% of new installations. Germany and the Netherlands each accounted for 2% of new wind power, with the latter's relatively high performance coming from advances in the offshore wind energy market. Other countries worth mentioning include Norway (1,6%), Spain (1,5%), France (1.4%), Turkey (1.3%), India (1.2%) and Australia (1.2%). All other countries of the world combined account for 13.3% of new wind power.

On the region level, Asia Pacific, due the China’s strong performance, continues to take lead increasing by 8.5% in 2020. Thanks to a record year of installations in the USA, North America with 18.4% replaced Europe (15.9%) to the third position. Latin America continues to be the fourth largest regional market (5%) in 2020, ahead of Africa and Middle East (0.9%).

Looking at the accumulated number of onshore installations, the top five markets remained unchanged accounting for 73% of the total number of wind power installations worldwide. Those markets are: China (39%), the United States (17%), Germany (8%), India (5%) and Spain (4%).

As already mentioned, the global offshore wind industry installed about 6 GW of new capacity having its second-best year ever despite the impact of the pandemic COVID-19. 50% of new annual offshore wind installations for the third year in a row came from China, followed by the Netherlands (25%), Belgium (12%), the United Kingdom (8%) and Germany (4%). Despite China's success in overtaking Germany to become the world's second-largest offshore wind market, the UK is still first in the world in terms of total instalattions offshore.

Experts note that despite the rapid development of wind energy, “the world needs to be installing an average of 180 GW of new wind energy every year to limit global warming to well below 2°C”.