Global wind power capacity reached 94,100 megawatts by the end of 2007, up 27 percent from the previous year, and then topped 100,000 megawatts by April 2008. The roughly 20,000 megawatts installed in 2007 was 31 percent above the 2006 record for capacity additions.
The United States led the world in new installations for the third year in a row with 5,244 megawatts of wind capacity added, increasing total installed capacity by 45 percent. Driven by the federal production tax credit and by state renewable energy mandates, wind power represented 30 percent of all U.S. capacity additions in 2007. The nation's wind capacity now totals 16,818 megawatts, second only to Germany's.
Wind capacity in the European Union rose 18 percent in 2007, and wind power accounted for about 40 percent of new power installations across Europe. Additions of 8,554 megawatts--an increase of 12 percent over 2006 installations--brought the EU's total to 56,535 megawatts. Total wind capacity installed in Europe by the end of 2007 was enough to meet nearly 4 percent of the region's electricity demand in an average wind year and will avoid about 90 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Spain led Europe in new installations in 2007 with an estimated 3,522 megawatts added; the country now ranks third worldwide in total wind capacity with 15,145 megawatts, enough to meet 10 percent of demand.
Germany remains the world leader in wind power capacity with 22,247 megawatts, about one-quarter of the global total, although Germany's wind market underwent a slowdown in 2007 and added only 1,667 megawatts of new capacity. Wind power generated the equivalent of 7.2 percent of Germany's electricity consumption in 2007.
The biggest surprise is China, which was barely in the wind business three years ago but which in 2007 trailed only...