While global investment in clean energy fell by 11 percent in 2012, the dip still left last year as the second most successful year ever for the sector. And despite the speed bump, the planet’s installed capacity to generate wind power shot up from 238 gigawatts to slightly more than 282 gigawatts last year, according to numbers compiled by the Global Wind Energy Council.
The increase was driven by China and the United States, which both installed roughly 13 gigawatts a pop, bringing their cumulative totals to 75.6 gigawatts and 60 gigawatts, respectively. The GWEC’s numbers for the spike in U.S. wind capacity are a bit higher than the 10.7 gigawatts reported recently by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — but even under that lower estimate, wind’s newly installed capacity beat out every other form of American power.
Overall, the 2011 to 2012 jump reported by the GWEC was almost 20 percent:
How much power these new installations generate? In 2010, American wind power utilized 27.4 percent of its nameplate capacity. But that’s the nature of wind, and the increase in capacity is a sign of wind’s economic viability. Bloomberg New ...