Wind Power: Global Context and Emerging Markets

When we approach the issue of wind power, we have to section it in two; onshore wind power and offshore wind power. Whatever the case, it is a renewable energy that uses wind force as the main fuel. The objective is to achieve a rotational movement in the blades of a wind turbine.

Perhaps, the reader might be wondering why wind turbines should be installed offshore. The answer is that offshore wind speeds are more stable and are generally higher than those on land.

With the aforementioned, this article will talk about wind power in its two forms of generation, emphasizing the current context in energy terms and emerging markets with expectations of use and development in the future.


A global overview of wind power

Offshore wind power emerged in 1991 in Vindeby, eastern Denmark. Nine years later, offshore wind installations began to expand across the North Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Baltic Sea. The success of this expansion was mainly due to the following facts.


  • Wind speeds were adequate values for their use through wind turbines.
  • The shallow waters (sea depths less than 50 meters) facilitated the installation of wind turbines.

The above points made the European Union the world leader in installed capacity, which at the end of 2019 represented 75% of the total world wind power installations. The top five of European countries with the highest participation in 2019 were: UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium.

On the other hand, China in 2019 was the second-largest market, adding 2.4 GW of new capacity, surpassing the UK which in the same period added 1.8 GW. Parallel, countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea began to exploit their offshore wind resource. Finally, North America was the third market in 2019, with 30 MW of installed capacity.



On the part of onshore wind power, the history dates back to the early 1980s, where California U.S was one of the first pioneers in harnessing the onshore wind resource. Ten years later, around 16 entities in the world had joined the list of wind power generators, increasing this number to 129 in 2017.

With this growth, in 2019, the top five countries with the highest participation were: China, the U.S., Germany, India, and Spain. Together they accounted for 72% of the world’s installed capacity.

In this way, onshore wind power has a greater presence in different parts of the world, covering places from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.

Only in 2019, the leaders in wind power generation, according to IEA, integrated the following statistics: China installed 26 GW, the U.S added 9.1 GW, the European Union reached 14 GW (led by Spain, Sweden, France, and Germany), India installed 2.4 GW, and finally, Brazil installed 1 GW.

Now, having explained both contexts, we summarize the previous figures as follows.


Emerging markets for wind power

Despite the continuous use of wind power in various countries, there are still places to explore and develop. In this sense, this section highlights emerging markets, starting with the offshore part. These markets are Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the U.S, and France.


  • Taiwan: Taiwan is the second-largest market within the Asia-Pacific region. At the end of 2019, Taiwan had an installed capacity of 128 MW. In the coming years, the wind offshore infrastructure plans to grow to 5.7 GW of new capacity.
  • Japan and South Korea: Japan started with pilot projects since 2003. However, at the end of 2019, there were no commercial plants. In the case of South Korea, it had 30 MW of installed capacity.
  • Vietnam: Vietnam is a particular case due to its rapid growth. In 2013, Vietnam had 16 MW of installed capacity. By 2019, this capacity increased to 99 MW, expecting the addition of 200 MW in 2020.
  • US and France: At the end of 2019, the U.S registered a total of 30 MW of installed capacity, while France had 2 MW with a pilot project. This project is a floating installation for waters with depths greater than 60 meters.

The previous places share two aspects; first, these countries are diversifying their energy mix with offshore wind power, and second, are growing markets, so there is still a lack of resources to exploit.

In this sense, The World Bank Group, in 2019, identified India as well as 7 other countries, as places with offshore wind potential, highlighting the following point.


  • India: This country has a generation target of 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. The best opportunities are in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.



Finally, on the part of the onshore generation, after the success stories in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, India, and South Africa, new development markets such as Chile, Colombia, and Kenya have been identified.


Final remarks

Wind energy has two forms of exploitation, offshore and onshore.

On the offshore side, the highest concentration is in Europe. However, new markets, especially Asia, have begun their exploration and development.

Onshore wind generation spreads to several countries, the opposite case with offshore wind power.

India is an offshore wind potential site.

Chile, Colombia, and Kenya are countries of future development.



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