It’s been great to see so much going on in the wind energy industry during 2006, so I thought I’d hunt around for some statistics on what various countries are currently able to produce in terms of wind generated electricity. While the increased activity has been encouraging, most countries have a long way to go to catch up with the leading nation.
The following statistics are the most recent I could locate – all are from various months of the latter part of 2006, except for China (end of 2005); hence the “+” next to each figure as new wind turbines and wind farms are being commissioned each week.
Country/Installed wind power capacity (megawatts)/Population
India – 5500 MW+ – 1.1 billion
Canada – 1,341 MW+ – 33.1 million
USA – 10,492 MW+ – 300 million
China – 1,300 MW+ – 1.3 billion
Germany – 18,428 MW+ – 82 million
Australia – 817 MW+ – 20.1 million
UK – 1,300 MW+ – 60.4 million
Japan – 1,000 MW+ – 127.4 million
Kudos to the Germans for their fine efforts in implementing wind power for electricity generation on such a scale!
Just to draw a comparison of how far behind the rest of us are, Germany has a population of 82 million, the USA 300 million. So for the USA to catch up with Germany’s installed wind power capacity, it would have to commission enough turbines to generate 67,419 Megawatts of electricity.
Australia also fairs very poorly by comparison; in fact *all* the other countries I looked at do. Germany has shown us that wind energy on a large scale is more than possible and quite viable! In fact, thanks largely to Germany’s effort, The European wind market reached the 2010 target set by the European Commission of 40,000 MW five years ahead of time!
By 2020, China plans to have at least 30 gigawatts (30 000 megawatts) of wind power capacity, but it’s been suggested that with sufficient motivation they may be capable of generating 170 gigawatts by that time.
Ironically, China churned out 200,000 off-grid wind turbine generators in 2004, making it the world leader in generator production.
A megawatt of wind power is enough to provide 250 to 300 average homes with electricity. Every 1,000 megawatts of wind power keeps 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air each year that would have been spewed into the atmosphere if it were electricity generated by coal. Carbon dioxide is a greenhous gase that been proven to be a major contributor to global warming.