The recovery starts here
With investments set to total $145 BILLION by 2017, our domestic industry has just been catapulted into the global big league. We investigate the cash windfall, examine which sectors and ancillary industries will benefit most, and ask if it can even kick-start the entire economy...?
While the financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the recession had a strong impact on the wind energy industry in terms of new installations, the sector has continued to mature. Wind power now accounts for the majority of the world's installed capacity of non-hydropower renewable energy generation, and most people in the energy industry have come to appreciate it as a low-cost, clean energy technology that is key to not only reducing carbon emissions, but also driving economic growth in the 21st century. According to a new report from Pike Research, total installed wind capacity in North America will more than double over the next six years, increasing from approximately 53,000 megawatts in 2011 to almost 126,000 megawatts by 2017.
Although the North American wind energy industry lags in key areas compared to Europe and Asia, falling costs and larger, more efficient turbines are helping give rise to a sense of cautious optimism. Home to the second largest wind market in the world - the United States - the region saw a total of 5,784 megawatts of wind capacity installed in 2010. Although 2011 was another difficult year for the industry, today the region accounts for more than 22 per cent of the world's total installed wind capacity. According to a recent report from Pike Research, installations in the region will pass 125 GW by 2017 - more than doubling from 2011 to 2017 - with onshore installations accounting for more than 97 per cent of that total. Overall, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that approximately $145 billion will be invested in on-shore and offshore wind energy installations between 2011 and 2017 in North America.