For Immediate Release

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Julia Tier
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Wind Power Installations Up 29 Percent in 2008

WASHINGTON - Global wind capacity increased an estimated 27,051 megawatts in 2008,
with cumulative installations up almost 29 percent. The United States
led in new installations, surpassing Germany to rank first in wind
energy cumulative capacity and electricity generation.

A new snapshot of wind energy trends from Worldwatch Institute analyzes data since 1980 and reveals that:

  • For the first time last year, wind power represented Europe's
    leading source of new electric capacity (with 8,877 megawatts added),
    well ahead of natural gas at 6,939 MW and coal at 763 MW. By the end of
    2008, wind power accounted for 8 percent of EU power capacity, enough
    to generate 4.2 percent of the region's electricity in a normal wind
  • Asia accounted for almost one-third of global wind
    capacity, with China quickly surpassing its 2010 wind target of 10,000
    MW and ending 2008 with 12,200 MW in place.
  • Nearly 400,000
    people are employed by the wind industry worldwide, though this number
    could slide in the near term due to project financing difficulties,
    particularly in the United States. However, the economic crisis has
    resulted in cheaper material and construction costs that are expected
    to lower turbine prices, a potential boon for long-term installation

This new wind power update provides data since 1980 on global and
national cumulative capacity in the top wind-producing countries and
sheds light on key financial trends in the sector.

Read the Vital Signs analysis, Wind Power Increase in 2008 Exceeds 10-year Average Growth Rate

Complete trends will be available with full endnote referencing, Excel
spreadsheets, and customizable presentation-ready charts as part of our
new subscription service, Vital Signs Online, slated to launch this fall.


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The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization recognized by opinion leaders around the world for its accessible, fact-based analysis of critical global issues. Its mission is to generate and promote insights and ideas that empower decision makers to build an ecologically sustainable society that meets human needs.

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