Wind Power Stats Reveal 2018 Was a Huge Year, and There's More to Come

It's off to a flying start.

The amount of wind power capacity in North, Central and South America jumped 12 percent in the past year, a report revealed Tuesday. The Global Wind Energy Council found 11.9 gigawatts of capacity was added to the region, with the United States and Brazil among the biggest contributors.

The report bodes well for plans to transition more energy usage onto sustainable means, dropping the fossil fuels of yesteryear. The Americas comprised 25 percent of the global capacity added in the past year, with overall capacity reaching 135 gigawatts. Key highlights came from North America, which the council’s CEO Ben Backwell described as “one of the most mature and competitive in the wind industry,” where wind supported more than 160,000 jobs. Brazil was another standout contributor by adding two gigawatts and auctioning off more at a competitive price of $22 per megawatt-hour.

GWEC's capacity stats.
GWEC's capacity stats.

See more: Why Renewables Are Set to Become the Fastest-Growing Source of Energy

The report follows trends and government targets aimed at sustainable energy. Mexico, which added one gigawatt of wind last year to reach five gigawatts total, aims to reach 35 percent of total power capacity from renewables before 2024. The United States’ Energy Information Administration revealed last month that renewables overall comprised three percent of total capacity last year, a figure that’s set to rise to 13 percent by 2020.

Beyond saving the planet, these initiatives are expected to offer cost benefits. Swiss investment bank UBS claimed last August that the cost of such sources could come so close to zero “it will effectively be free” by 2030. While boiling a kettle with solar would have cost three British pence in 2010, the figure is expected to drop to half a penny in 2020 before dropping further.

It’s a big start, but it’s going to depend on even further additions to the system. The report projects a further 60 gigawatts will be added from now until 2023.

If current trends continue, the Americas could lead the way in wind.

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