Global wind energy industry needs policy-driven action to sustain record growth from 2023

image is Wind Farm Californa

While the winds of change in the energy industry are blowing strong, however, the wind industry must roughly triple its annual growth from a level of 117GW to at least 320GW by 2030 to meet COP28 and 1.5C degree pathway targets.

Last year was the best yet for new wind energy progress as the worldwide wind industry installed a record 117GW of fresh capacity.

That was the headline find of Global Wind Report 2024, released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) earlier this week.

While the winds of change in the energy industry are blowing strong, however, the wind industry must roughly triple its annual growth from a level of 117GW to at least 320GW by 2030 to meet COP28 and 1.5C degree pathway targets.

Positive signs

The report numbers give reason for optimism as those total installations of 117GW represented a 50% year-on-year increase from 2022 - this was in the face of a turbulent political and macroeconomic environment.

GWEC says the wind industry is entering a new era of accelerated growth driven by increased political ambition, manifested in the historic COP28 adoption of a target to triple renewable energy by 2030.

The report highlights increasing momentum in the growth of wind energy globally with 54 countries - across all continents - building new wind power in 2023.

Route to further adoption

The GWEC has revised its 2024-2030 growth forecast of 1210GW upwards by 10%, in response to the establishment of national industrial policies in major economies, gathering momentum in offshore wind, and promising growth among emerging markets and developing economies

And the organisation’s Global Wind Report provides a roadmap for how this can be achieved - notably through collaboration.

The GWEC called on policymakers, investors and communities to work together across key areas of investment, supply chains, system infrastructure and public consensus, to set conditions for wind energy growth to take off through to 2030 and beyond.

Rallying cry for joint efforts

Ben Backwell, the Council’s CEO, branded enhanced global collaboration as “essential to fostering the conducive business environments and efficient supply chains required to accelerate wind and renewable energy growth in line with a 1.5C pathway.

He continued: “It’s great to see wind industry growth picking up, and we are proud of reaching a new annual record. However, much more needs to be done to unlock growth by policymakers, industry and other stakeholders to get on to the 3X pathway needed to reach net zero.”

Wind energy hotspots

China, the US, Brazil and Germany were responsible for the largest concentrations of wind energy growth, with India completing a list of top five markets for new installations.

Wind farm

China set a new record with 75GW of new installations commissioned, representing nearly 65% of the global total and underpinning a record year for the Asia-Pacific region which posted year-on-year (YoY) growth of 106%.

Backwell called upon many more countries to “remove barriers and improve market frameworks” to scale up installations.

“Geopolitical instability may continue for some time,” he said. “But as a key energy transition technology, the wind industry needs policymakers to be laser-focused on addressing growth challenges such as planning bottlenecks, grid queues, and poorly designed auctions.

“These are the measures that will significantly ramp up project pipelines and delivery, rather than reverting to restrictive trade measures and hostile forms of competition.”

Gusting towards records

Numerical highlights in the report showed 2023 as the best single year for onshore wind capacity, surpassing 100GW for the first time (106GW) to deliver YoY growth of 54%.

It was also the second-best year for offshore wind installations, with 10.8GW installed, while global cumulative wind power capacity passed the first 1TW milestone in 2023 - it now totals 1021GW following YoY growth of 13%.

Among last years other standout regions was Latin America; it experienced record wind expansion with YoY growth of 21%, led by Brazil’s 4.8GW of fresh installations. Africa and Middle East wind installations rose by 182%, compared with 2022.

Encouraging signs

By contrast, in its January 25 examination of trends for the industry this year, Wood Mackenzie described the wind energy landscape as poised for “significant turnaround in 2024 after grappling with challenges in 2023”, particularly outside of China where it said onshore wind markets contracted by 11%”.

The consultancy said project development had faced hurdles including fluctuating policies, elevated equipment costs, high interest rates, permitting issues and transmission delays while the Chinese wind energy market remained resilient and was set to install more than half of the world’s capacity in 2024.

Wood Mackenzie said: “Europe, particularly Spain, is anticipated to experience substantial growth, driven by improved permitting and policy support. The Middle East and Africa are also poised for significant market expansion, with notable growth in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.”

Industrial outlook

Major wind industry players such as Indian turbine manufacturer Suzlon welcomed the “meticulous” and “critical” Global Wind Report with a pinch of realism.

Girish Tanti, Suzlon Vice President, said the report validated that “every government must strive to balance local and global priorities towards our collective goals of tripling renewables”.

He continued: “The hour calls for policymakers and governments to champion region-friendly policies and systems in line with their own regulatory and geopolitical scenarios to scale and maintain secure supply chains for renewables, while removing implementation obstacles for rapid ramp-up.

“The Global North, which has largely shouldered the green energy revolution so far, requires the Global South’s support and potential in cost-efficient technology and supply chain to capitalise on renewable energy’s true potential.”


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best of Energy Connects directly to your inbox each week.

By subscribing, you agree to the processing of your personal data by dmg events as described in the Privacy Policy.

Back To Top