Worldwide wind power market will see a sharp drop in the number of new wind turbines installed in 2013, even though global installations increased by 10% to 44.8GW in 2012, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The report reveals that the global wind power installed capacity reached 282.5GW in 2012, an increase of about 19% compared to 2011.
GWEC predicts a modest downturn in 2013, followed by a recovery in 2014 and beyond with global capacity growing at an average rate of 13.7% to 2017, almost doubling global capacity to 536GW.
GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said: "Wind power may be variable, but the greatest threat to the continued stable growth of the industry is the variability and unpredictability of the politicians who set the frameworks for the energy sector.
"However, all of the fundamentals which have driven wind power to date are still in place: energy security, price stability, local economic development, climate change mitigation, and local air and water pollution issues; and wind is now competitive in an increasing number of markets, despite fossil fuel subsidies which last year amounted to an incentive to emit CO2 of about $110/tonne," Sawyer added.
GWEC said the US claimed the top spot for global markets in 2012 for the first time since 2009, surpassing China by 164MW.
According to the report, the late extension of the US Production Tax Credit on 1 January 2013, however, means that the US market will drop steeply in 2013, although substantial recovery is expected in 2014.
Europe also performed well in 2012, but GWEC said policy uncertainty and backtracking will affect the country's wind market in the coming years.
European Wind Energy Association CEO Thomas Becker said that European Governments are driving up the cost of meeting their 2020 renewable energy targets by making policy changes to gain investor confidence.
"An ambitious and binding 2030 renewable energy target would hugely reduce uncertainty. It would create jobs and exports and boost Europe's world-leading wind industry," Becker added.
China remained strong in 2012, with more than 75GW of installed capacity.
The country aims to have about 18GW of new installations in 2013.
Other Asian countries, including India, Asia, Pakistan, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Thailand, are expected to see significant installations and market growth in 2013 and 2014.
GWEC said Brazil will continue to lead the wind market in Latin America and may surpass the goal of 2GW of annual installations in 2013.
The report found that South Africa currently has hundreds of power projects under construction and another 500MW is expected to come to financial close in 2013.
Image: The global wind power installed capacity was at 282.5GW in 2012. Photo: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.