Global wind energy will pass the 1-terawatt (TW) threshold for installed capacity by the end of 2023, according to the newest market outlook from Wood Mackenzie.

Luke Lewandowski, Wood Mackenzie research director, said:

After needing more than 40 years to reach one TW of installations, the wind industry will reach the next TW of installations within the next eight years, a significant acceleration of growth.

WoodMac forecasts that annual wind capacity additions in China overall will average a massive 80 GW and make up 50% of new capacity globally over the next ten years.

European countries will add more than 343 GW of offshore and onshore wind capacity over the next decade; offshore wind will account for 39% of new capacity. Onshore growth in emerging Eastern European markets and the repowering of older wind farms in markets such as Germany and Spain will also drive wind energy adoption.

The research company also notes that the global offshore wind sector is ramping up quickly, and it will experience sevenfold growth by 2032 and account for a 26% share of total capacity over the 10-year outlook.

Thirty countries will add offshore wind capacity over the coming decade, but the EU and China are expected to account for 81% of global offshore wind capacity growth.

WoodMac’s Lewandowski said about the US offshore wind growth potential:

Developers await tax credit eligibility guidance from the US Treasury, with the ongoing uncertainty impacting near-term installations. However, with policy clarity, approval and investment in transmission projects, and development of the offshore market’s nascent supply chain, annual additions will intensify and average 20 GW per year from 2026 through 2032.

The US will have to overcome the potential challenge of renewables being stuck in a grid-connection backlog. However, just this week, the Biden administration approved the TransWest Express Transmission Line, a huge 732-mile-long power line that will deliver wind energy from Wyoming to population centers in the Southwest. The line will provide 3,000 MW of new transmission capacity, and its first stage is expected to be completed in 2027.

Yesterday, International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol wrote in a Financial Times article headlined, “Clean energy is moving faster than you think”:

We can thank an array of clean energy developments, such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and heat pumps, and the policies and investments that are supercharging their growth.

It’s well known in energy and climate circles that these technologies are expanding quickly, but I think many people still don’t realize just how quickly.

Photo: MingYang Smart Energy

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