Wind Power Expanding in Developing and Industrialized Nations

Wind Machine
Global wind turbine installation grew more than ninefold in ten years.

Wind power is rapidly becoming a viable and economical energy source worldwide, even in developing countries, according to a September 28 article in the New York Times. Last year, wind turbine installations rose nearly 48 percent in India and 65 percent in China. The Indian manufacturer Suzlon Energy is now the world’s fifth largest turbine producer and tripled its earnings in the quarter that ended June 30, bringing in US$41.6 million.

Suzlon is demonstrating that wind energy can be successful beyond the traditional markets in Europe and North America. While companies from Denmark, Germany, Spain, and the United States still dominate the market, Suzlon has learned to navigate the unique challenges of wind power development in less-affluent nations like India and China. The company has mastered the problems and opportunities that poor infrastructure, petty thievery, and government influence can create in developing countries, potentially giving it an edge in certain markets, the New York Times reports.

According to Worldwatch Institute President Chris Flavin, the world has now entered the “renewable energy age,” a period comparable to the “oil age” of the 20th century. American Energy, a new study from Worldwatch and the Center for American Progress, reports that global wind turbine installations increased more than ninefold between 1995 and 2005, to 11,770 units. Other renewable energy sources have had similarly astounding growth rates: between 2000 and 2005, solar photovoltaics grew 29.2 percent and biofuels grew 17.1 percent. During the same time period, coal grew only 4.4 percent and oil just 1.6 percent, notes the study.

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.