International Rankings of Wind Power Capacity

Ryan Wiser
Mark Bolinger
U.S. Department of Energy
August 2010

"The United States Continued to Lead the World in Cumulative Wind Power Capacity, but Was Overtaken by China in Annual Additions

On a worldwide basis, more than 38,000 MW of wind power capacity was added in 2009, the highest volume achieved in a single year, and up from about 28,000 MW in 2008, bringing the cumulative total to approximately 160,000 MW (Table 1). In terms of cumulative installed wind power capacity, the United States ended the year with 22% of total worldwide capacity, and is the leading market in the world by this metric (Table 1 and Figure 3). Over the past 10 years, cumulative wind power capacity has grown an average of 30% per year in the United States, slightly higher than the 28% growth rate in worldwide capacity.

After four years of leading the world in annual wind power capacity additions, the U.S. dropped to second place in 2009 (Table 1), capturing roughly 26% of the worldwide market (behind China’s 36% market share7), down from 29% in 2008 and 27% in 2007 (Figure 3). Spain, Germany, and India rounded out the top five countries in 2009 for annual capacity additions."

For information on Spain, click here.

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And yet, despite periodic energy...

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Denmark has long been a role model for green activists, but now it has become one of the first countries to turn against the turbines.

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This article reports on the growing interest in sustainability measures on college campuses. According to this article, Clemson University is creating a new program in order to facilitate research on alternative energy.

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"Gov. Ed Rendell's recent proposal to increase the mandate for the proportion of electricity in Pennsylvania that must be generated from solar power -- from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent by the year 2021 -- is the best illustration of that aphorism I have seen in a long time.

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This article is a good example of what many individuals and towns are hoping to see if they install a wind farm.

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...

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Americans were...

It is understandable that renewable-energy interests support a law that requires utilities to buy escalating amounts of power from them regardless of price. The mystery is why anyone else thinks it's a good idea.

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"Advocates of alternative energy face an inconvenient, but incontrovertible, fact:

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"Renewable fuels for U.S. military ships and jets are likely to remain 'far more expensive' than petroleum products absent a technological breakthrough, a study for the U.S. Air Force found on Tuesday, questioning a Pentagon push for alternative energy."

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"The bankruptcy filing by solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received $535 million in loan guarantees from the federal government, is grist for many controversies. While some of them are narrowly political, others involve legitimate policy questions that deserve a full airing. It's fair to ask, for example, why the government is subsidizing alternate energy sources in the first place....

"About 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Dallas, 47,000 acres (19,000 hectares) of Texas cedar and scrub oak have been given over to the 421 wind turbines that comprise the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. The 291 1.5-megawatt turbines built by GE and the 130 2.3-megawatt wind turbines built by Siemens together deliver 735 megawatts of peak power. The farm was completed in 2006 and is...

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Small hydropower is a...

"A source of light, heat, nutrition and life, the sun has been the subject of fascination – and even worship – since time began. But while the idea of harnessing the sun’s energy has always intrigued us, in today’s challenging environmental situation, this is more than a desire: it’s a need. And new technology is now making it a reality.

While fossil fuels are being depleted, the earth...

"State legislatures pave the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish. How? By stipulating standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

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"Offshore wind energy is a clean, domestic, renewable resource that can help the United States meet its critical energy, environmental, and economic challenges. By generating electricity from offshore wind turbines, the nation can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, diversify its energy supply, provide cost-competitive electricity to key coastal regions, and help revitalize key sectors of its...

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If things continue as they are in Spain, the world’s poster child for renewable fuel, wind and solar energy may not save us after all—or renew the capitalist economy.

Doug Selsam's Sky Serpent uses an array of small rotors to catch more wind for less money.

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Of course, we can’t ignore the enormous challenges — from cheap natural gas to relentless competition in manufacturing — that will lead to the death of many of the companies we know today. That is...

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Over 30 years, the plant will prevent the emission of more than 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases...

"Energy purchases made by the U.S. Department of Defense do not influence world oil prices, making cutting fuel use the only effective choice to reduce what the Pentagon spends on petroleum fuels, according to new reports issued today by the RAND Corporation."

"A U.S. agency report predicts hydroelectric power will constitute 55 percent of the renewable energy added globally through 2035.

International Energy Outlook 2011, by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), said renewable energy sources are the fastest growing sources of electricity generation globally. It predicts, from 2008 to 2035, world renewable energy use for...

"As dams age and downstream development increases, the number of deficient dams has risen to more than 4,000, including 1,819 high hazard potential dams. Over the past six years, for every deficient, high hazard potential dam repaired, nearly two more were declared deficient. There are more than 85,000 dams in the U.S., and the average age is just over 51 years old."

"The Saudis are raising $100 billion for solar-power development, which could ease its rapidly growing demand for electric power. Though natural gas would be cheaper, the Saudis may prefer solar."

"A few days ago Alex Planes published an extraordinary article on The Motley Fool titled the "Real Costs of Alternative Energy" that summarized direct US subsidies for our principal energy sources, restated annual energy consumption from each of those sources using equivalent barrels of oil...

"On Jan. 30, a letter arrived at 10 Downing Street from 101 Members of Parliament, addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron. Its message: Stop taxpayer subsidies for wind power.

The call is being echoed across Europe, where governments are reconsidering what they — and taxpayers — can afford in terms of green-energy initiatives in an age of austerity. In the boom times before the...

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The U.S. could meet its Kyoto target by replacing 59 percent of coal energy with between 214,000 and 236,000 wind turbines?

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Wind...

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Despite its alleged success abroad, NRDC believes that Americans still need to fork over millions of dollars for alternative energy technologies like windmills—taxpayer money that has not made the industry any more viable.

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Swedish energy company Vattenfall will operate the farm after...

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Chart or Graph

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Table shows information on countries generating geothermal power in 2010.

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"Map of existing hydroelectric facilities, potential hydroelectric sites, and excluded hydroelectric development areas in the U.S."

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The United States Continued to Lead the World in Cumulative Wind Power Capacity, but Was Overtaken by China in Annual Additions.

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Some states are beginning to realize relatively high levels of wind energy penetration.

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Installation and production cost of various renewable energies.

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"A chart showing the growth in solar power capacity in the United States, from 2004-2011."

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Percentage of various sources of energy used in the U.S.

This chart describes various types of renewable energy and color codes the regional locations that they are found in.

"This map of the available wind power over the United States indicates the wind power density class by using a color chart."

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Analysis Report White Paper

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Wind and solar energy are routinely promoted with the promise of green jobs, and that they will lead to a green technology revolution while improving the environment. But how well do wind and solar energy solutions actually perform on these promises? Let’s take a rational look.

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"With gasoline and electricity prices skyrocketing, politicos on both the Left and Right agree that the government must do something to promote alternative energy sources. The debate is not whether to intervene, but how. Which fuels should we promote? How aggressively should we subsidize those fuels?"

The 1990s saw an explosion of energy policy changes around the globe. Driven by economic, environmental, security, and social concerns, energy regulation has been in great flux.

"The Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) of the IPCC Working Group III provides an assessment and thorough analysis of renewable energy technologies and their current and potential role in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. The results presented here are based on an extensive assessment of scientific literature, including specifics of...

With high quality petroleum running out in the next 50 years, the world governments and petrochemical industry alike are looking at biomass as a substitute refinery feedstock for liquid fuels and other bulk chemicals.

Wynn and Lowe argue that renewable energy mandates will be difficult to implement, will raise costs for energy consumers, and may even negatively affect the environment.

Wind projects vary in size, from small projects of one to a few turbines serving individual customers, to large projects designed to provide wholesale electricity to utilities or an electricity market.

Paper providing an overview of wind power development and the issue of intermittency. The economics of wind power development and the technology’s carbon balance are also considered.

The energy world faces unprecedented uncertainty. The global economic crisis of 2008-2009 threw energy markets around the world into turmoil and the pace at which the global economy recovers holds the key to energy prospects for the next several years.

Video/Podcast/Media

In this podcast, Andrew Morriss explains some of the problems with renewable energy products. According to Morriss, renewables such as wind or solar are less efficient because they actually rely on a good deal of "brown" energy to make them effective.

Dr. Heidi Cullen discusses the challenge of powering America's cities with wind energy in this Climate Central report.

The video explores using small, private windmills for residences rather than large, utility-grade windmills.

Host Summer Rayne Oaks visits a Texas wind ranch to discover how eco-friendly energy is used in rural America.

In this brief news clip, Patrick Michaels explains the extreme inefficiency of renewable energy such as wind and solar power. According to Michaels, government spending on energy sources such as these is wasteful.

"Of all of the proposals you have seen, which is the most promising?" Robert Bryce's first pick is nuclear energy.

"In this brief talk, Saul Griffith unveils the invention his new company Makani Power has been working on: giant kite turbines that create surprising amounts of clean, renewable energy."

This video humorously demonstrates how green jobs are more costly and more energy inefficient than normal energy sources.

"Watch this video about wind power, the world's fastest growing energy source, on HowStuffWorks. With the rise in natural gas and oil prices, wind power is the new hot technology.

Primary Document

"The purpose of this project is to research the feasibility of using strong pulsating electric fields with inert electrodes placed directly into the circulating water in water-cooled air conditioning systems to achieve a reduction in mineral and bio fouling in the condenser tubes such that chemical treatment is no longer needed."

"The U.S. wind power industry is facing uncertain times. With 2011 capacity additions having risen from 2010 levels and with a further sizable increase expected in 2012, there are – on the surface – grounds for optimism. Key factors driving growth in 2011 included continued state and federal incentives for wind energy, recent improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technology, and the need to meet an end-of-year construction start deadline in order to qualify for the Section 1603 Treasury grant program. At the same time, the currently-slated expiration of key federal tax incentives for wind energy at the end of 2012 – in concert with continued low natural gas prices and modest electricity demand growth – threatens to dramatically slow new builds in 2013."

"The Army and Air Force are committed to developing one billion watts of renewable energy on their installations by 2025, senior leaders from both services announced yesterday."

Research suggests that rare raptors and sensitive grassland birds may be put at risk by wind development, and many scientists are concerned that expansion of major wind developments into important migratory bird habitats.

"Mr. Speaker, this 'do nothing' Republican-Tea Party Congress is killing jobs with its endless political games. This week's gimmick vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a meaningless vote to deny millions of American's healthcare. Meanwhile, this House's failure to pass an extension of the Wind Energy Tax Credit to producers of all-American energy is killing jobs. Roughly 37,000 American jobs in the wind energy sector are at risk."

"This report responds to a November 2010 request to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) from U.S. Representatives Roscoe G. Bartlett, Marsha Blackburn, and Jason Chaffetz for an update to a 2008 report prepared by EIA that provided a snapshot of direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in energy markets in fiscal year (FY) 2007, focusing on subsidies to electricity...

Marshall R. Goldberg testifies before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on the local long- and short-term economic impacts of building wind farms.

"The Directive 2009/28/EC on renewable energy, implemented by Member States by December 2010, sets ambitious targets for all Member States, such that the EU will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and a 10% share of renewable energy specifically in the transport sector.

It also improves the legal framework for promoting renewable electricity, requires national...

"Water power — it can cut deep canyons, chisel majestic mountains, quench parched lands, and transport tons — and it can generate enough electricity to light up millions of homes and businesses around the world.

Hydropower, also known as hydroelectric power, is a reliable, domestic, emission-free resource that is renewable through the hydrologic cycle and harnesses the natural energy of...

"IEO2011 focuses exclusively on marketed energy. Non-marketed energy sources, which continue to play an important role in some developing countries, are not included in the estimates. The IEO2011 projections are based on U.S. and foreign government laws in effect as of the start of 2011. The potential impacts of pending or proposed legislation, regulations, and standards are not reflected in...

"Levelized cost is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. Levelized cost represents the present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle, converted to equal annual payments and expressed in terms of real dollars to remove the impact of inflation....

A general discussion of Minnesota’s current transmission system, its challenges and actions being taken to alleviate challenges and ensure a strong system in the future.

"Obviously there's some wind power here in Iowa that we want to tap."

"Renewable energy deployment has been accelerating at paces that exceed even optimistic expectations and they continue to command a greater market share of the energy production sector every year. Despite their rapid growth, there are few publicly available compilations of the data on renewable energy costs. Collecting this data is a difficult task, as costs change constantly with developments...

Wind power deployment is measured in months, and a half completed wind farm is just a smaller power plant, starting to generate power and income as soon as the first turbine is connected to the grid.

Books

FAQs

This FAQ examines the primary types of renewable energy available to us today, some instances of both failed and successful renewable energy companies, and what the future might have in store for this sector of America's energy industry.

Coal has been an integral part of American industrial development for well over a century. The transition from wood to coal allowed manufacturers a far greater energy generating capacity. America's coal reserves are vast and the mining technology is developed. It is also spread through many areas of the country, helping to support many different local economies. 

Over the last...

Solar energy has been at the forefront of the alternative energy discussion for decades. At times, solar power has shown more potential than any other renewable energy source. In other instances, the technology has failed miserably. The most fundamental obstacle is finding a way to lower its cost. Currently, solar power is simply not able to provide our homes with affordable energy. Government...

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