Wind Power Market Fell Worldwide in 2010 on Electric Demand

New wind power installations fell 7 percent worldwide in 2010 as policy uncertainty in the U.S. led to a “disappointing” year there, and depressed electricity demand hit richer nations, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

About 35.8 gigawatts of wind turbines were installed worldwide last year, down from 38.6 gigawatts in 2009, the 1,500-member Brussels-based lobby group said today in an e- mailed statement. China overtook the U.S. as the country with the most installed wind power, it said.

“Our industry continues to endure a boom-bust cycle because of the lack of long-term, predictable federal policies, in contrast to the permanent entitlements that fossil fuels have enjoyed for 90 years or more,” Denise Bode, chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association, said in the statement. “We need consistent federal policies to ensure we have a diverse portfolio of energy sources in this country.”

U.S. installations fell by half to 5.1 gigawatts, and has now slipped behind China with a total installed capacity of 40.2 gigawatts. That compares with China’s 42.3 gigawatts of turbines at the end of 2010, more than a fifth of the global total of 194.4 gigawatts. The European market shrank 7.5 percent to 9.9 gigawatts of new installations. At the same time, developing countries including India, Brazil and Mexico expanded their wind farms, the council said.

“Wind power is now rapidly expanding beyond the traditional ‘rich-country’ markets, a clear sign of its growing competitiveness,” GWEC Secretary-General Steve Sawyer said in the statement. “This is a trend we are expecting to see developing further in the future, not only in Asia. We are also seeing encouraging signs in Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico, and in both northern and sub-Saharan Africa.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.

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