Straight talking: The unpredictable business of predicting growth

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Windpower Monthly

GLOBAL Once a year, I engage in the business of prognostication in the form of the Global Wind Energy Council’s five-year forecast, for the period from 2015-2019.

A global perspective from Steve Sawyer

Last year was a great one for the wind industry: Our figures* show 44% annual market growth and record installations of more than 51GW; a strong recovery from the industry’s biggest-ever slump in 2013. After slipping just below our Global Wind Energy Outlook (GWEO) moderate scenario at the end of 2013, 2014’s spectacular growth puts us back on track with the GWEO advanced scenario for 2014, probably for 2015 and perhaps 2016 as well. After that, it becomes more difficult.

Nobody foresaw that China would install 23GW, but given the lowering of the feed-in tariff at the end of 2015, we can expect similar numbers this year. The Indian wind industry has a de facto target of 5GW per annum for the rest of the decade and into the next, due to the new government’s enthusiastic targets. We don’t expect it to reach that in 2015, but it will move in that direction. We expect the installed capacity in the Asia region as a whole to double between now and the end of 2019, adding another 140GW; led by China and India, but with a number of smaller markets contributing by the end of the period.