Hydroelectric power generation, the largest renewable energy source, supplied 16% of the worldwide electrical needs in 2012, but wind turbine energy is growing at a much faster pace. Read this wind turbine power market report for the details.
Other than hydroelectric power plants, wind turbine power has become the largest renewable/green energy source in the world. Hydroelectric facilities generated more than 3,500 Terawatt hours of electricity in 2013, while wind turbines generated only a little more than 500 Terawatt hours, according to Robert Rapier in OilPrice.com.
In 2013, the electric power industry installed 35,467 megawatts (MW) of wind turbine power capacity. This was down 21.5% from the capacity installed in 2012 and was the only time in the last 10 years that there was a year-over-year decline.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), China has the largest installed base of wind turbine generator capacity, with 91,424 MW at the end of 2013. Asia, in total, has an installed capacity of 115,939 MW.
As a region, Europe has the largest installed capacity, at 121,474 MW. North America has an installed capacity of 70,885 MW. The United States has the second-largest capacity, with 61,091 MW at the end of 2013.
Over the last 10 years, the cumulative installed wind generation capacity has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% and is now seven times larger than it was in 2004. The annual wind generation capacity has grown at a 16% CAGR in the same timeframe.
Energy Market for Connectors
A variety of electronic connectors are used in the control, monitoring, and transmission of electrical power produced by renewable energy sources. Bishop estimates that the value for electronic connectors used in the worldwide energy market in 2013 was $836 million. With a five-year compound annual growth rate of 7.1%, the market will reach a value of $1,175 million in 2018.
- Hydroelectric power generation has nearly run its course. There are not many areas left, worldwide, to develop further significant hydropower projects; however, China continues to expand its capacity. China has the largest hydroelectric facility in the world, the Three Gorges Dam, which has an installed capacity of 22,500 MW. The main drawback of hydroelectric power is the dislocation of human populations and loss of local ecologies due to the water reservoirs that build up behind the dams. The Three Gorges Dam displaced 1.3 million people when it was built.
- Wind turbine power is less intrusive than hydropower, but not without controversy. There are concerns about birds being killed by the whirling blades and the visual pollution of hundreds of towers lining the horizons in prime wind areas. Many of the wind farms in Europe, particularly in the UK, have been placed well offshore to mitigate some of these issues.
- Although solar power has been in vogue over the last decade, the current installed capacity of solar is only about a fifth of the capacity of wind turbine power.
Dave Pheteplace, VP, Bishop & Associates, Inc.