Worldwide wind power capacity surpasses 238,000 MW
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the wind industry installed more than 41,000 MW of new power last year, bringing the global installed capacity to more than 238,000 MW as of December 2011. About 75 countries now have commercial wind power installations, with 22 nations passing the 1 GW mark. China affirms its position as the global leader, with a cumulative capacity of more than 62,000 MW, while India’s 2011 installations pushed the country’s total capacity to just over 16,000 MW. The European Union (EU) added another 9,616 MW of wind energy capacity in 2011, for a total installed base of 93,957 MW — enough to supply 6.3% of the EU’s electricity. The U.S. added 6,800 MW of capacity in 2011, enough to provide two million homes with electricity, bringing the total installed capacity to almost 47,000 MW.
Renewables supply 16.7% of global energy consumption
According to the Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, renewable energy sources grew to supply an estimated 16.7% of global energy consumption in 2010. Of this total, modern renewable energy accounted for an estimated 8.2%, while the share from traditional biomass declined slightly to an estimated 8.5%. During 2011, modern renewables continued to grow in all end-use sectors, including power, heating and cooling, and transportation. In the power sector, renewables accounted for almost half of the estimated 208 GW of electric capacity added globally during 2011. Wind and solar PV accounted for almost 40% and 30% of new renewable capacity, respectively, followed by hydropower at nearly 25%. By the end of 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeded 1,360 GW, up 8% over 2010. In the U.S., renewable energy made up an estimated 39% of national electric capacity additions in 2011.
Investment in renewables quiet in 2012
The Bloomberg New Energy Finance database shows that investment in renewable energy was subdued in the first three months of 2012, thanks to uncertainty over future policy support in Europe and the U.S. Figures from the Bloomberg database of deals and projects reveal that asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects in Q1 2012 was $23.3 billion, down 36% from the fourth quarter of 2011 and 14% below the figure for the first quarter of 2011. That said, some big projects were financed, including the 396 MW Marena Wind Portfolio in Mexico for $961 million, the 100 MW KVK Chinnu solar thermal plant in India for $400 million, and the 201 MW Post Rock Wind farm in Kansas for $376 million. Venture capital and private equity (VC/PE) investment in renewable energy companies was resilient, at $1.4 billion worldwide in Q1, up from $1.1 billion in Q4 2011. Solar and biofuels were the two dominant sectors for VC/PE equity raisings.