Global Market for Wind Power to 2018
Authors: Gail Rajgor
Published: May, 2016
Pages: 252 | Tables: 166 | Figures: 36

While this report looks at the current status of the global wind power market, the main focus is on prospects for its immediate future over the next few years to 2018. What comes out of that is that the sector looks set for a period of significant growth, even in the face of some tough conditions.


Fears have been firmly quashed that steeply falling fossil-fuel prices and sluggish or declining demand for electricity, particularly in developing countries, would have a potentially damaging impact on performance last year. Indeed, 2015 has been widely reported by many to be a record year for the sector, building on the momentum that began in 2014. Several early industry market reports, published at the end of 2015 or in January 2016, suggest that around 56–60GW of new wind capacity was installed last year, hence the claims for a record-breaking year. That may well be so – the global wind industry, for the most part, is definitely thriving and weathering the storms that come its way well.

When it comes to grid-connected capacity only, initial data from ENDS Intelligence, collated in late January 2016 for the purpose of this report,
suggests newly installed wind capacity for 2015 came to 46GW. This takes global cumulative installed capacity to 415GW, up from 369GW at the end
of 2014. However, we believe that in reality the final year end total for 2015 is likely to be closer to 430GW – factoring in an extra 10GW thought to have been installed in China (yet to be confirmed as grid-connected at the time of writing) on top of the 19GW confirmed in this report and accounting for late confirmations of full commissioning in some other countries.

With that in mind, ENDS Intelligence is confident it has indeed been a record year for wind power around the world. Looking forward, the signs for
solid growth are also strong. Significant policy developments achieved in recent months will help drive project plans forward. ENDS Intelligence believes an annual build rate of 55–60GW of new global wind capacity is now likely to be achieved as a result.

The positive outcome at the UN climate change conference (COP21) in Paris in December 2015 – widely welcomed by the wind industry – is just one of those significant developments, of course. But it is policy at a more local level in some key markets that, for the most part, gives reason for cautious optimism within the forecast period of this Global Market for Wind Power to 2018 report.


The data contained in this report is based on our proprietary Windpower Intelligence (WPI) database of more than 21,000 wind farms, nearly 9000 of which are currently under development. Our data is fairly complete for most countries but has significant gaps in some major wind markets, especially Germany because of the very large number of small, independent projects for which there is no easy-to-track record, China and India because of a dearth of recently updated, publicly available information. This report also feeds on independent research carried out by a global team of experts. For the purposes of this report, we only took account of projects that are currently ‘in progress’, meaning that they are not yet in operation, nor have they been put on hold or cancelled.

The WPI Tracker was used to produce a bottom-up forecast of future market trends. For the data analysis, we used a snapshot of the database taken on 26 January 2016. Information we may have learned after that date is not reflected in this report.

It is important to distinguish between our analysis of the pipeline of wind projects currently classified as being ‘in progress’, and our market forecasts. Some of the projects in the pipeline may in fact never go online. Pipeline information is also limited by the transparency of the markets in question. Availability of data is dependent on government requirements, the maturity of the market, speed of the consenting process and other factors.

Our forecast of future installed wind capacity is drawn from the January 2016 issue of the WPI Global Forecast. This is a monthly forecast report that provides up-to-date country forecasts based on ongoing research alongside collection and verification of pipeline data.

As well as producing forecasts of installed capacity, this report also attempts to estimate market values for turbine components and market shares for suppliers and developers. We estimate the overall cost of turbines in China to be markedly lower than elsewhere. In 2015, the turbine cost in China was assumed to be €446/kW, against €960/kW in the rest of the world. Over the next three years, China is forecast to see a slight reduction to between €428/kW and €440/kW, while a lower price of between €926/kW and €948/kW is
assumed in the rest of the world.

Labour is assumed to account for 16% of the cost of a turbine, on average. The value of components is thus calculated from 84% of the total turbine market value. Turbine components – and their relevant costs – are broken down in functional groups. Wind farm developers’ market shares are calculated based on the information contained in the WPI Tracker. When more than one developer is involved in a project and their respective shares are not known, shares are allocated equally.

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