Wind

A crucial source of clean power, wind turbines generated 6.6% of the world’s electricity in 2021, up from 3.5% in 2015.

Share of wind in global electricity (%)

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Overview

Wind's growth trajectory puts it at the forefront of the clean energy transition

A number of countries now generate more than a quarter of their electricity from wind power, including Ireland and Portugal. In 2021, Denmark generated almost 50% of its electricity from wind.

The countries with the largest total wind generation in 2021 were China (614 TWh), the USA (380 TWh) and Germany (116 TWh). At the end of 2021, China overtook the UK to be the biggest offshore, installing 17GW of offshore wind in 2021 alone.  

Ember’s Global Electricity Review revealed that almost all Middle Eastern and African countries are not yet harnessing wind power; only 1% of the global wind generation rise since 2015 was in African countries and 0.1% in Middle Eastern countries.

Last updated: Nov 2022

The world's biggest wind generators

Ember position

Wind will be the backbone of the future electricity system, alongside solar power

From a standing start, offshore and onshore wind are growing to become the backbone of global electricity grids. In the IEA scenario which stays below the crucial 1.5C temperature limit, wind and solar will need to make up 40% of global electricity by 2030. In 2021, they surpassed 10% for the first time.

Decades ago, wind was expensive and required a large government subsidy. Those days are now long past, with new wind cheaper than existing fossil fuels in most countries.

Advances in the size of wind turbines have reduced fears around variability, as large turbines out at sea give a much more steady supply. Initial concerns around land use are being tackled as floating offshore wind begins to deploy, situated far from human eyes. 

Wind, like solar, can be deployed very quickly, and so will make up the bulk of growth in clean power this decade. The faster countries embrace cost-effective wind power, the lower energy-bills and carbon emissions will go.

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