“Brazil is leading the way, but Mexico is catching up,” Mr Sawyer says. “Of course in Africa, there are, for the first time, significant additions happening in sub-Saharan Africa – in Ethiopia, last year, the first commercial project became available and there will be others in Ethiopia over the next two years, and the South African industry is finally getting going – they have hundreds of megawatts (MW) under construction now and another 600 MW heading to financial close in May 2013.”
Global data demonstrates that Europe had a record wind energy year in 2012, but “the economic malaise and the wave of policy uncertainty in some of the southern European markets is going to mean that it’s unlikely to be repeated in 2013”, according to Mr Sawyer.
“Until there’s either a breakthrough in climate negotiations or a dramatic uptake in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies, I think that most of the market growth is going to be outside of the OECD.
“China will return to be a growth market in 2013 and again in 2014, on an even greater scale. They’re in the process of sorting out some of the structural issues that they ran up against because of dramatic growth since 2006.”
Mr Sawyer says that the global industry will have in the vicinity of 500 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity by the end of 2016, and will be on track for somewhere between 800–1,000 GW total installed capacity by 2020.
Noting that the Clean Development Mechanism has “pretty much played itself out” in terms of the first commitment of the Kyoto Protocol being over, and the world entering a limbo phase in terms of global carbon markets, Mr Sawyer says that carbon pricing mechanisms aren’t functioning as much of a driver for wind investment at the moment.