Record year for wind energy but need for policy-driven action, according to new report

The global wind industry installed a record 117GW of new capacity in 2023, making it the best year ever for new wind energy. Despite a turbulent political and macroeconomic environment, 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 Global Wind Report 2024 highlights increasing momentum on the growth of wind energy worldwide:

  • Total installations of 117GW in 2023 represents a 50% year-on-year increase from 2022
  • 2023 was a year of continued global growth – 54 countries representing all continents built new wind power 
  • Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has revised its 2024-2030 growth forecast (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

Still, the wind industry must roughly triple its annual growth from a level of 117 GW in 2023 to at least 320 GW by 2030 to meet the COP28 and 1.5C degree pathway targets.

The Global Wind Report provides a roadmap for how this can be done. GWEC calls on policymakers, investors and communities to work together across the key areas of investment, supply chains, system infrastructure and public consensus, to set the conditions for wind energy growth to take off through to 2030 and beyond.

Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC, said: “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. Growth is highly concentrated in a few big countries like China, the US, Brazil and Germany, and we need many more countries to remove barriers and improve market frameworks to scale up wind installations.

“Geopolitical instability may continue for some time. 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. Enhanced global collaboration is 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.”

Growth around the globe

  • 2023 was the best year on record for onshore wind capacity, surpassing 100GW in a single year for the first time with a total of 106GW – representing Year-on-Year growth of 54%
  • 2023 was the second-best year in history for offshore wind installations with 10.8 GW total installed
  • Global cumulative wind power capacity passed the first 1 TW milestone in 2023, and now totals 1021GW following YoY growth of 13%
  • Top five markets for new wind installations – China, US, Brazil, Germany, India
  • China set a new record with 75 GW of new installations commissioned – nearly 65% of the global total
  • China’s growth underpinned a record year for the Asia-Pacific Region with year-on-year growth of 106%
  • Latin America also experienced record growth in 2023, with year-on-year growth of 21%, led by Brazil’s new installations of 4.8GW, which registered as third globally
  • Wind installations in Africa & Middle East increase by 182% compared with 2022

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “With the historic UAE Consensus achieved at COP28, the world has committed to tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030. Wind energy will play a critical role in reaching these ambitions, with the Global Wind Report highlighting a record year for growth in 2023 and outlining the steps needed to triple wind capacity in line with this commitment.

“Masdar looks forward to continuing to work with our partners and fellow GWEC members to advance the global wind energy industry in support of these ambitions and delivering on the promise of the UAE Consensus.”

Girish Tanti, Suzlon Vice-President, said: “The meticulous Global Wind Report, which offers such a comprehensive view of the sector, is a critical document to enable and empower the world’s net zero goals with wind energy.

“The report only validates my stance further that every country’s government must strive to balance local and global priorities towards our collective goals of tripling renewables. 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.

“I cannot stress this enough: We cannot prevent a climate crisis in isolation. 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 capitalize on renewable energy’s true potential. Renewable energy is the equalizer that our fragmented world needs right now as it can decentralize power generation, secure millions of new jobs, and meet the basic necessities of clean air and good health for all.”

Photo credit: iStock/ Anusak Rojpeetipongsakorn

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