Wind power grows 12% in the Americas
05 February 2020 | Mitigation
Over 13GW of new wind capacity was installed in the Americas region in 2019, an increase of 12% on the previous year, according to research by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
GWEC said 13,427MW was installed last year in North, Central and South Americas and the Caribbean, bringing the total to more than 148GW.
In 2018, 11,892MW was installed across the region, it added.
The US led the way with 9143MW of new wind power in 2019, followed by Mexico with 1284MW, Argentina with 931MW and Brazil with 745MW.
US growth was boosted by an installation rush driven by the phase out of the production tax credit.
GWEC said the surge in new wind capacity in the region is set to continue with 220GW forecast between 2020 and 2024.
Offshore wind in the US is expected to grow to 10GW by 2026, with other countries, such as Brazil, looking to tap into this market.
The key to growth in Latin America is overcoming regulatory and political instability, while the US-China trade war is also a challenge to boosting growth, the council said.
GWEC chief executive Ben Backwell said: “It is encouraging to see that installation levels for wind energy in the Americas are continuing to rise.
“However, policymakers need to be doing more to accelerate these volumes and take advantage of the full potential wind power has to offer.
“Meanwhile, the ongoing trade war between the US and China continues to constitute a threat for the industry, as tariffs on steel and aluminium, which make up about 90% of wind turbines, put price pressure on the US supply chain and risk increasing wind power projects by as much as 10%.”
GWEC Latin America committee chair Ramon Fiestas said: “Latin America has massive potential for wind energy, and we have seen many countries in the region emerge in recent years as renewable energy leaders through auctions which have delivered wind energy at some of the most competitive prices globally.
“New markets such as Colombia, which successfully executed its first renewable energy auction in 2019, and existing ones like Chile, which saw a record year installing 526MW, show that there is still great untapped potential in the region.
“Yet, with the cancelling of planned auctions and changes to the clean energy credits scheme in Mexico in 2019 as well as political and economic shifts in Argentina leading to uncertainty for future auctions, these key markets risk losing the momentum which they have worked so hard to create and missing out on a massive opportunity to transform their energy systems to cleaner and cheaper wind power.”