North, South and Central America, including the Caribbean region, collectively installed 13,427 MW of onshore wind capacity in 2019, according to the latest data revealed by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The 12% growth over the previous year was mainly led by North America, where new capacity additions rose by almost 18% year-on-year. The US alone installed 9,143 MW, or 62.17% of the total wind capacity installed in the Americas in 2019.
In South and Central America and the Caribbean, new capacity additions fell by 5%, despite advances in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
In the US, the capacity boom was prompted by the phase-out of the production tax credit (PTC), which is expected to give rise to new additions in 2020, GWEC said. The organisation estimates that the recently approved one-year PTC extension is likely to trigger more installations in 2024.
The total installed wind capacity in the Americas has more than tripled in the past decade to now stand at over 148 GW. According to GWEC’s projections, the region will add 72 GW more between 2020 and 2024 to arrive at 220 GW at the end of the forecast period.
The future for offshore wind looks promising in the US as GWEC expects the country to erect its first installations in 2022-2023 and more than 10 GW by 2026. Of the countries in South America, Brazil may join the offshore wind market with the potential to add up to 700 GW.
Shifting policies are seen as the biggest threat for the wind growth supporters as chief policymakers continue to create environment that is less conducive to the renewables development. This is particularly true for the US, still engaged in the tariff push-and-pull with China, and Mexico, where the cancellation of the fourth power auction and questionable decisions regarding clean energy certificates were not welcomed by developers. Regulatory and political challenges in Brazil and Argentina may put pressure on wind power in the next two to three years, GWEC forecasts.
GWEC will publish the Global Wind Report in March.
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