The Global Wind Energy Council has a 2010 market report which provides global statistics on wind power installations. You can see from the graph above that the pace of installations slowed globally in 2010. They place the blame for this primarily on the delayed effects of the financial crisis:
The expectations for wind power market growth in 2010 were mixed, as the low level of orders seen during the financial crisis worked their way through the system. The results of this were felt much more strongly in 2010 than in the previous year, and the overall annual market shrunk by 7% to 35.8 GW, down from 38.6 GW in 2009. The new capacity added in 2010 represents investments worth EUR 47.3 billion (USD 65 billion).The regional pattern shows that North America was the region with by far the largest collapse, but European wind development was also slightly down in 2010:
This was partially offset by very large developments in Asia, especially China.
So there is certainly a global pattern, but there also must be US specific reasons that the collapse in wind installations was worst here. To repeat my whining from yesterday, if there's one thing I would have hoped for a Democratic administration coming to power at the start of a massive financial crisis, it would have been to use some stimulus money to increase investment in renewable energy. But apparently not.
The president talked a good line:
"The country that leads the clean energy economy will be the country that leads the 21st century global economy," Obama said at the Siemens plant. "I don't accept second place for the United States of America. That's why our energy security has been a top priority for my administration since the day I took office."But results have clearly not followed the rhetoric.
The president cited his controversial $862 billion economic stimulus plan, which passed over solid GOP opposition early last year. The measure helped reverse the economic downturn and will create or save more than 700,000 jobs by 2012, he claimed.
It will do so in part by funding larger investments in renewable energy projects, according to the administration. Obama claimed that, if the proper investments are made, wind could generate up to 20 percent of America's energy two decades from now.
"Wind power isn't the silver bullet that will solve all our energy challenges," he said. "There isn't one. But it is a key part of a comprehensive strategy to move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels to one that relies on more homegrown fuels and clean energy."
The good news: according to the GWEC, the prospect for 2011 is better:
The outlook for 2011 is more optimistic, with overall investment in wind power in 2010 up by 31% to reach USD 96 billion (EUR 70.4 billion), according to bloomberg New Energy Finance (bNEF). This investment gives rise to some optimism going forward, as it is likely to translate into actual projects in 2011 and 2012. It is notable that 38% of this total investment was accounted for by China and by large European offshore wind farms.