The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reports that the total wind energy capacity in 2018 was 570,000 MW. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the United States have over 50% of the world’s total installed wind capacity. However, the race to install utility scale wind projects onshore and offshore is picking up speed.
The GWEC predicts that over 300,000 MW of new wind capacity will be installed over the next five years. Construction of major new offshore wind projects are forecast for the United State, PRC, Japan, Republic of China (Taiwan) and South Korea. A combination of major offshore and onshore wind projects is also forecast for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina, Colombia and Peru.
Europe has been aggressively developing offshore wind for over a decade. Major offshore wind projects are now being planned off the coasts of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. States along the western seaboard have been slow to pursue offshore wind, although the strongest and most consistent winds in the United States are off the coast of Oregon and California.
The rapid growth in wind energy is being driven by economics and concerns about global warming and climate change. Wind energy is a cheaper source of electricity than any form of fossil fuel (coal, oil or natural gas). Fossil fuel reserves are being depleted significantly faster than new reserves can be found, which means future costs for coal, oil and natural gas will be significantly higher than they are today. The reality of climate change is also making most nations to take positive action to reduce greenhouse gases.
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