Global wind power capacity to hit 2.38 terawatts by 2032

Increased activity in western markets and Africa will boost generation, Wood Mackenzie says

A picture taken on August 28, 2019, in the Western Cape Province near Caledon shows wind turbines turning in a canola field. - Drought, climate change, economic downturn, security issues in rural areas, and uncertainty about the future of land reform in South Africa, are making agriculture in South Africa an increasingly challenging environment. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)
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Global grid-connected wind power capacity is expected to grow 10.1 per cent annually to hit 2.38 terawatts by 2032, driven by increased activity in western markets and Africa.

This long-term growth in cumulative installed capacity in wind power will take place despite short-term challenges that have caused a net downgrade of 10.1 gigawatts from 2023 to 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie.

“There is encouraging activity in western markets across North America, South America and Europe with revisions of national energy and climate plan targets, positive auction developments and strengthened repowering projections,” said Luke Lewandowski, the energy research group's vice president of global renewables research, said in a report this week.

“We are also tracking the advancement of megaprojects in Africa that are driving growth. This will all help offset some of the short-term challenges in the global offshore market, particularly in China.”

Countries are building new renewable energy plants as they aim to cut emissions to reach their net-zero targets in the coming decades.

The US and Europe aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two largest economies in the Arab world, plan to reach the target by 2060 and 2050, respectively.

Africa is also boosting clean energy capacity. The continent’s installed renewable energy capacity is set to grow to more than 530 gigawatts by 2040, from about 54 gigawatts in 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Earlier this month, the UAE pledged $4.5 billion to help speed up the development of clean energy projects in Africa.

Abu Dhabi’s clean-energy company Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Etihad Credit Insurance and Dubai-based renewable energy company Amea Power will provide the funds.

Africa50, an investment platform established by African governments and the Africa Development Bank, has also joined the initiative.

Installed cumulative wind power capacity in North America is expected to reach 340,000 megawatts by 2032 with an annual growth rate of 7.6 per cent, while in Western Europe it is expected to grow 8 per cent annually to 233,000 megawatts, Wood Mackenzie said in its latest report Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update: Q3 2023.

In the Middle East and Africa, wind power capacity will grow 24.1 per cent annually, the fastest rate in the world, to reach 89,000 megawatts by 2032, the report said. Latin America is expected to record 7.9 per cent annual growth during the period.

China’s installed wind power capacity will grow 11.5 per cent every year to reach 1.08 million megawatts.

“China’s new 'Single 30' regulation, coupled with global inflation and supply chain challenges, has impacted offshore economics, leading to project cancellations and postponements, causing the near-term slowdown in growth,” the report said.

“However, the new repowering policy in China provides a boost to the long-term global outlook, with annual build from 2026 through 2032 averaging 170 gigawatts per year.”

China's repowering policy aims to replace outdated turbines with new, more efficient models in order to increase the capacity and productivity of wind power projects.

To achieve this, the total capital expenditure investment projections for wind power in the 10-year outlook will be $2.5 trillion, with offshore accounting for $850 billion of this activity, according to Wood Mackenzie.

“This year and next will be more challenging than predicted earlier in the year, but the long-term trends are still very positive for cumulative capacity growth across all regions,” said Mr Lewandowski.

Updated: September 22, 2023, 4:00 AM