Global Trends in Wind Power Generation

I'm quite interested in green, sustainable ways to generate electricity and think that wind power is one of the best possible ways to do that. Looking at the Wikipedia article I managed to pull some statistics out and make some simple graphs that show the world's top 10 producers of wind power and the trends for each country.

Some interesting trends here already:

  • The United States has already become the world's leading producer of wind power, overtaking Germany in 2008.
  • China's increase almost matches the US and it is set to overtake Spain in 2008.
  • India's progress is perfectly linear - a case of planned strategy?
  • Many other countries one would expect to see doing more are way down the list or missing from it altogether: Brazil (as a fast growing economy), Japan (second biggest economy in the world), South Africa & Russia are completely missing, with no installed capacity (South Africa might get its first wind farm in 2010)
  • Egypt is the top African country on the list, at no. 23, followed by Morocco at no. 31.
Right, all this is fine - I'm not surprised that China and India are in the top 5 wind power generators as they are growing so fast that I suppose they have to tap every possible avenue. However, perhaps some credit is due to them both for encouraging investment in this area. They didn't sign Kyoto and are averse to agreeing to binding emission targets at Copenhagen (related news article) later this year, but clearly if things progress this way then they will be much greener economies as they develop.

I wanted to do one final check, a comparison of installed wind power capacity to the GDP of each of these 10 countries. I took the figures (again) from Wikipedia and stuck to the IMF list. I took the GDP in PPP as Wind Power is not generally meant for export and I thought it might provide a cleaner comparison between countries.

Right, so this is even more interesting - rather than comparing the share of wind power in total electricity generation (which is a bit skewed when comparing developed to developing countries), this comparison yields results that I think show which countries are MOST interested in generating more wind power - and indicate investments relative to their Gross Domestic Products.

Denmark, Portugal, Germany and Spain have clearly established themselves as leading proponents of wind power.

The rest follow in a bunch with India leading the wave, which I think is an incredible achievement given that the Indian economy is only half as big as China's and a fraction of the United States'.

Now if only China, US and India can accelerate quickly enough to overtake other wind power producers it would form a perfect innovation adopters graph :-)

Related Pages:
Cop15 - the conference at Copenhagen later this year
NYTimes article on differences between the Indian and American points of view
Neil Cavuto@Fox News on Hillary Clinton's apology to India over carbon emissions

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