U.S. Takes Global Lead in Wind Power, Passes Germany

Todd White and Rachel Graham | Bloomberg

The U.S. increased its wind-generation capacity by 50 percent last year, overtaking Germany as the world’s largest producer, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

U.S. generation capacity rose to more than 25 gigawatts, the Brussels-based industry association said today in an e-mailed report. That’s about 21 percent of total global capacity of 121 gigawatts.

Some governments are trying to generate more power from renewable sources to cut dependence on energy imports and to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming and a byproduct of traditional generation from fossil fuels. The European Union is seeking to increase the share of energy from renewables to 20 percent by 2020.

Germany’s capacity was almost 24 gigawatts at the end of 2008 and China more than doubled its capacity last year to more than 12 gigawatts, the report said. The global wind turbine market was worth about $47.5 billion last year, according to the GWEC.

As CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a century or longer, annual output worldwide “must be dramatically reduced” to stabilize levels of the greenhouse gas to avoid the most harmful effects of global warming, the U.S. government’s Climate Change Science Program said in a report last month.

That will require a decline of about 70 percent to 90 percent from today’s levels, according to the study published under the administration of President George W. Bush on Jan. 16, its last working day in office.


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