The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in its Global Wind Report 2022 has reported that 93.6 GW of wind energy capacity was deployed in 2021 – setting the second best annual wind capacity deployment record, just 1,8% behind the highest record of 95.3 GW set in 2020.
The offshore wind segment recorded its best ever year with 21.1 GW installations in 2021. Onshore wind installations in 2021 came in at 72.5 GW last year, against a record 88.4 GW set in 2020.
The cumulative global wind power capacity now stands at 837 GW as of the end of 2021, registering a year-over-year (YoY) growth of 12%. China was responsible for a staggering 50.9% of the total global wind energy installations in 2021, followed by the USA at 13,6% and the rest of the world installing close to 25%.
According to GWEC, auction activities in 2021 demonstrated that growing wind deployment was a key strategy for many countries. Auctioned capacity was up 153% in 2020, with 88 GW awarded globally. Onshore wind makes up 69 GW (78%) of that, with offshore counting for 19 GW.
Global wind deployment rate not fast enough for net zero targets
Wind is on a positive growth trajectory, but GWEC says the sector is not growing nearly fast or widely enough to realise a secure and resilient global energy transition. The global wind body says there is a need for a more proactive approach to policy making around the world to meet the deployment targets.
GWEC stressed that the world needs to deploy at least four times as much annually by 2030 to maintain the trajectory towards net-zero by 2050. At current installation rate, GWEC Market Intelligence forecasts that by 2030 we will have less than two-thirds of the wind energy capacity required for a 1.5°C and net zero pathway, effectively condemning us to miss our climate goals.
“Despite progress in policy commitments and the hopeful messages from the world’s governments at COP26 – many of whom met with GWEC in Glasgow – we need to be honest: We are not currently on-track to meet the objectives of net zero by 2050 or the aims of the Paris Agreement,” said Ben Backwell, CEO, of Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
GWEC also bemoaned the slowdown effects of COVID-19 pandemic on global wind energy installation, particularly markets such as the US, India and Taiwan.
For the world to meet its net zero targets, GWEC urged that countries and communities must work together for an effective response to climate change. The wind body affirmed that policymakers need to re-evaluate markets to align with economic and social objectives.
GWEC also stated that streamlining the procedures to grant permits, including land allocation and grid connection projects will ensure projects don’t remain ‘stuck in the pipeline’.
“Decisively addressing issues such as permitting and planning will unlock economic growth and create millions of jobs by letting investment flow, while allowing rapid progress on our climate goals. If we carry on with “business as usual”, however, we will miss this unique window of opportunity,” said GWEC’s CEO, Ben Backwell.