For the first time in history the capacity of wind power generation surpassed nuclear energy, according to data released by global industry bodies.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, wind power generation worldwide reached 432.42 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2015 while the global nuclear power generation capacity was 382.55 gigawatts as of Jan. 1, 2016, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association said.
The capacity of wind power generation worldwide increased by 17 percent compared with 2014. According to the Brussels based organization, the generation capacity of newly constructed wind farms is at record 63.01 gigawatts, corresponding to about 60 nuclear reactors.
According to the Energy Council, China lead all other countries in wind energy capacity with 145.10 GW. Moreover, in 2015 China installed 30,500 MW of new wind power, compared to the world total of 63,000 MW.
China officially surpassed the European Union, the traditional leader in the global wind power sector. However, judging on percentage capacity, China had the largest installed electricity generation capacity in the world with 1505 GW with some 80 percent coming from coal.
Behind China, there are the United States with 74.47 GW, Germany with 44.95 GW, India with 25.09 GW and Spain with 23.03 GW.
Paris climate change deal
In December’s Paris Climate Change Deal, the policy makers agreed to fundamentally transform the world’s energy systems making them less reliant on fusil fuels.
Giles Dickson, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) had said then that “Europe’s leadership in wind combined with the major new commitments on renewables from emerging economies gives us a golden opportunity to further expand our flourishing export industry. The European wind industry has a 40% share of wind markets outside Europe today. So the INDC commitments on wind could create major new jobs and growth in Europe. But to exploit these opportunities the European wind industry will need to keep its competitive edge – and that will require a vibrant home market for wind.
As of now only 6 out of 28 Member States have clear commitments and policies in pace for renewables post 2020. That’s not enough to deliver the EU’s collective renewables target “at least 27%” by 2030. And not enough to deliver the vibrant home market we need to help other countries deliver on the commitments they’ve now made in Paris.”