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Wind energy

The International Wind Energy Industry

The following data are compiled from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and other agencies' publications. As of 2008:

  • The world's total installed capacity was more than 120,000 MW, which represents more than a 16-fold increase from the 1997 level of 7,500 MW.
  • With a total of 2,369 MW of installed wind energy capacity, Canada became the 12th country in the world to exceed the 2,000 MW mark.
  • The GWEC predicts there will be 332,000 MW of wind energy capacity installed by 2013. By 2020, wind energy should provide 10-12% of the world's electricity, eliminating up to 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
  • Canada expects to have more than 12,000MW of installed wind energy capacity by 2015 , and CanWEA's Windvision 2025 calls for 55,000MW by the end of the following decade.
  • The global wind sector now employs more than 400,000 people and represents a 36% annual growth in the world market.
  • By 2025, the wind energy industry is projected to create 52,000 new "green collar jobs" in Canada.
  • The United States, Germany and Spain have the most installed windpower capacity. Germany leads Europe with the greatest number of wind turbines—nearly 20,000--by the end of 2007. Denmark, ninth in the world for capacity, is the global leader in the proportion that wind energy contributes to the country’s total energy supply – more than 20% by the end of 2008 . The U.S., in turn, is building wind farms faster than any other nation.
  • In 2008, Canada produced enough wind energy to power nearly 700,000 homes.
  • The earth’s theoretical wind energy potential has been estimated to be about 72 terawatts, which is approximately five times the total global energy need.


This series includes 2 graphs depicting international participation in the wind energy industry. The first graph shows the actual and predicted global megawatt generation capacity from 1997 through 2010. The second graph show newly installed and total megawatt generation capacity for 13 countries including Canada. Explanatory text appears below each.


On the next page:

Wind Energy and Economic Development

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