Sustainable Energy

From China to Brazil, these are the world titans of wind power

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The wind industry added over 52 gigawatts (GW) of wind power last year, according to a recent report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

China maintained its position as a wind energy powerhouse, installing 19.7 GW, while the European Union added 15.6 GW of capacity. The U.S. installed a little over 7 GW of capacity.

Here, Sustainable Energy looks at the countries with the largest cumulative capacity as of December 2017, according to the GWEC's Global Wind Report for 2017.

10. Italy

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Italy has more than 9 GW of wind power capacity. As a whole, the European Union has over 168 GW of wind power capacity. Of that figure, 15.8 GW comes from the offshore market.

9. Canada

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With over 12 GW of installed capacity, Canada has enough to power more than 3 million homes, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CWEA).

Ten projects were completed last year, representing 341 megawatts (MW) of new installed capacity. According to the CWEA, there are almost 300 wind farms operating in Canada.

8. Brazil

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Brazil added more than 2 GW of wind power capacity in 2017, according to the GWEC. The wind industry employed 190,000 people in Brazil at the end of 2017, and the country has "some of the best wind resources in the world."

7. France

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France had a big year in 2017, the GWEC reported, and installed a record 1,694 MW of onshore wind power. Its total installed capacity is enough to power a staggering 11 million homes.

6. UK

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The U.K. is an offshore wind powerhouse. A recent report from industry body WindEurope stated that the U.K. was home to the "largest amount of installed offshore wind capacity in Europe, representing 43 percent of all installations."

Overall, the U.K. installed 4,270 MW of wind power capacity in 2017, five times more than in 2016.

5. Spain

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Although figures from WindEurope show that Spain only installed 96 MW of new wind power in 2017, the country is a big player in the European wind energy sector, second only to Germany in terms of installed capacity.

4. India

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India had a record year in 2017, installing more than 4 GW of new wind power capacity, according to the GWEC.

The GWEC added that, as a whole, Asia was the planet's biggest regional market for new wind power development, the ninth year in a row it has held that position.

3. Germany 

The top country in Europe for installed wind power, Germany places third overall in the GWEC list. It installed more than 6.5 GW of capacity between January and December last year, a 15 percent increase compared to 2016, according to the GWEC.

2. US

The wind market in the U.S. installed just over 7 GW in 2017. Texas remains the biggest player in the country, with more than 22 GW of wind power at the end of 2017. Iowa gets 36 percent of its electricity from wind power, according to the GWEC.

1. China

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In its report, the GWEC described China as the "driver of global market growth for most of the last decade." The "largest overall market for wind power since 2009," China installed 19.7 GW of capacity in 2017, a huge amount that was more than double any other market.