Global Wind Report 2021
2020 was a record year for the global wind power industry despite the impacts of COVID-19, but we are still falling short to meet the world’s climate targets.
In this special edition of GWEC’s 16th annual flagship report ahead of the crucial COP26 conference in November 2021, the Global Wind Report 2021 highlights wind power’s role on the road to net zero.
2020 was the best year in history for the global wind industry with 93 GW of new capacity installed – a 53 per cent year-on-year increase – but this growth is not sufficient to ensure the world achieves net zero by 2050. The world needs to be installing wind power three times faster over the next decade in order to stay on a net zero pathway and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Through technology innovations and economies of scale, the global wind power market has nearly quadrupled in size over the past decade and established itself as one of the most cost-competitive and resilient power sources across the world. In 2020, record growth was driven by a surge of installations in China and the US – the world’s two largest wind power markets – who together installed nearly 75 per cent of the new installations in 2020 and account for over half of the world’s total wind power capacity.
Today, there is now 743 GW of wind power capacity worldwide, helping to avoid over 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 globally – equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of South America.
Yet, as the clean energy technology with the most decarbonisation potential per MW, the report shows that the current rate of wind power deployment will not be enough to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of this century, and urgent action must be taken by policymakers now to scale up wind power at the necessary pace.