GWEC: 22 GW Wind Power Additions in North, Latin America In 2020

A recent report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) confirms that both North and Latin America, installed nearly 22 GW of new capacity of wind power in the region, a 62 percent spike over 2019 beating back the impact of COVID 19 comprehensively.

According to the latest data released by GWEC Market Intelligence, in 2020, the US broke all internal records for wind capacity additions,  installing more capacity in Q4 2020 than was installed in the entire year in 2019. Altogether, a whopping 17 GW of new wind power capacity was installed last year in the US, an impressive 85 percent year-on-year increase. The main driver of this growth surge was the phase-out of the 100 percent Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the end of 2020 for wind power projects that began construction in 2016.

Not only this but, Africa and the Middle East region also installed a strong capacity of 821 MW of new wind power capacity in 2020, bringing total capacity in the region to over 7 GW. However, this growth is stable for the region and nearly the same levels of the previous year .

The report indicates that overall, the total wind power capacity in North and Latin America is now 136 GW and 34 GW respectively, which helps to avoid 250 million tonnes of C02 emissions annually in the region – equivalent to taking 1.2 billion passenger cars off the road.

“Since 2010, the wind power market in the US has tripled in size and nearly quadrupled its share in the country’s electricity mix. Although we were expecting an installation rush in the US in 2020, this growth is truly impressive considering the impacts of COVID-19 on the country’s supply chain and economy,” commented Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy at GWEC.

“Wind power is also an important driver of jobs and investment in the US, and a crucial pillar of the Biden administration’s plan to Build Back Better. Currently, wind power supports over 120,000 jobs and has brought in over USD 65 billion over the past five years in the US. These socioeconomic benefits will be amplified once the US offshore wind market takes off, which could generate an additional USD 166 billion in new investment by 2022 and support 80,000 jobs annually by 2035”, Feng added.

Ramón Fiestas, Chair of GWEC’s Latin America Task Force stated, “The wind power market in Latin America has grown sixteen-fold over the past decade, and is the fastest-growing power source in the region.”

 GWEC also shared a brief of New Wind Power Capacity in the Americas and Caribbean in 2020 as:

  • US – 16,925 MW
  • Brazil – 2,297 MW
  • Argentina – 1,014 MW
  • Chile – 684 MW
  • Mexico – 574 MW
  • Canada – 165 MW
  • Panama – 66 MW
  • Peru – 38 MW

The growth in these numbers, coming on the back of a strong surge in offshore wind power order flows, across the world, including China, demonstrate the shifting nature of the renewable market. Even as onshore wind has struggled, fall in prices, and scale up in capacity of wind turbines for offshore installations has infused new vigour into the market. Of course, with subsidies getting phased out, expect a slight bump in growth in 2021, before China takes on the leaders mantle from 2022 onwards.

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