Wind energy

Onshore wind is a proven, mature technology with an extensive global supply chain. Onshore technology has evolved over the last five years to maximise electricity produced per megawatt capacity installed to unlock more sites with lower wind speeds. Wind turbines have become bigger with taller hub heights, and larger rotor diameters.

In 2016, cumulative grid-connected wind capacity reached 466 GW (451 GW onshore wind and 15 GW offshore wind) and wind power accounted for almost 4% of global electricity generation.

	Accelerated case	Middle East	Eurasia	Africa	Latin America	APAC	North America	Europe	China
2016	0.00	0.35	0.72	3.83	14.55	40.04	96.42	148.19	147.03
2017	6.31	0.42	1.05	4.40	16.61	46.34	105.62	158.95	166.03
2018	14.04	0.54	1.51	5.14	20.49	52.52	115.07	168.15	184.03
2019	23.39	0.73	1.92	6.04	22.42	58.55	126.52	175.75	203.03
2020	34.38	1.07	2.34	7.11	23.83	66.07	140.40	183.15	223.53
2021	47.51	1.28	2.71	8.34	25.51	74.44	149.16	190.37	244.53
2022	60.26	1.65	3.09	9.39	28.00	83.49	156.19	197.03	267.03
{
	"title": {
		"text": "Onshore wind generation and cumulative capacity by region, 2016-2022"
	},
	"subtitle": {
		"text": "Click a region in the legend to show/hide"
	},
	"tooltip": {
		"valueSuffix": " GW",
"enabled": false
	},
	"chart": {
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		"spacingBottom": 30,
		"spacingRight": 20
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	},
	"yAxis": [{
			"title": {
				"text": "Wind capacity (GW)"
			}
		},
		{
			"title": {
				"text": "Wind generation (TWh)"
			},
			"opposite": true
		}
	],
	"series": [{}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {
		"name": "Generation",
		"type": "line",
		"data": [
			[2016, 915.89],
			[2017, 1044.93],
			[2018, 1158.49],
			[2019, 1275.54],
			[2020, 1396.23],
			[2021, 1528.75],
			[2022, 1653.69]
		],
"yAxis": 1,
		"tooltip": {
			"valueSuffix": " TWh"
		}
	}]
}

Source: Renewables 2017

Onshore wind capacity is expected to grow by 295 GW in the next five years and reach almost 750 GW by 2022 in the main case of the IEA’s Renewables 2017 forecast. China leads this growth followed the United States, Europe and India. As a result, onshore wind electricity generation would increase by 80% globally over 2017-22. 

Offshore wind is also expected to grow rapidly. Deploying turbines in the sea takes advantage of better wind resources than at land-based sites. Therefore, new offshore turbines are able to achieve significantly more full-load hours ranging from 40-55% depending on resource availability. 

	Accelerated case	Africa	Eurasia	Latin America	Middle East	North America	APAC	China	Europe
2016	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.03	0.17	1.61	12.63
2017	1.25	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.03	0.20	2.61	15.22
2018	1.93	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.03	0.43	3.61	17.50
2019	2.99	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.03	0.57	4.71	20.89
2020	3.85	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.23	0.94	5.91	23.49
2021	5.60	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.43	1.54	7.41	25.62
2022	7.04	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.00	0.59	1.71	9.11	29.14


{
	"title": {
		"text": "Offshore wind generation and cumulative capacity by region, 2016-2022"
	},
	"subtitle": {
		"text": "Click a region in the legend to show/hide"
	},
	"tooltip": {
		"valueSuffix": " GW",
"enabled": false
	},
	"chart": {
		"type": "column",
		"spacingTop": 30,
		"spacingBottom": 30,
		"spacingRight": 20
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	},
	"legend": {
		"reversed": "true"
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	"yAxis": [{
			"title": {
				"text": "Wind capacity (GW)"
			}
		},
		{
			"title": {
				"text": "Wind generation (TWh)"
			},
			"opposite": true
		}
	],
	"series": [{}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}, { "name": "Generation", "type": "line", "data": [ [2016, 41.87], [2017, 51.39], [2018, 62.66], [2019, 76.33], [2020, 92.44], [2021, 108.97], [2022, 128.63] ], "yAxis": 1, "tooltip": { "valueSuffix": " TWh" } }] }

Source: Renewables 2017

In 2016, global offshore wind generation reached an estimated 42 TWh, 7% higher than in 2015. By 2022, global offshore wind cumulative capacity is expected to reach 41 GW by 2022, up from 14 GW in 2016. Deployment will be led by the European Union and China. Enhanced policies and faster deployment of projects in the pipeline could result in a further 7 GW.  

Technology Roadmaps

The IEA has developed and regularly updates a series of global, low-carbon energy technology roadmaps which identify priority actions for governments, industry, financial partners and civil society that will advance technology development and uptake to achieve international climate change goals.

Browse all Technology Roadmaps >

Technology Roadmap: Wind Energy

Published: 16 October 2013

The IEA Wind Power Technology Roadmap 2013 Edition recognises the very significant progress made since the first edition was published in 2009. The technology continues to improve rapidly, and costs of generation from land-based wind installations continue to fall. Wind power is now being deployed in countries with good resources without any dedicated financial incentives.

The 2013 Edition targets an increased share (15% to 18%) of global electricity to be provided by wind power in 2050, compared to 12% in the original roadmap of 2009. However, increasing levels of low-cost wind still require predictable, supportive regulatory environments and appropriate market designs. The challenges of integrating higher levels of variable wind power into the grid need to be addressed. For offshore wind, much remains to be done to develop appropriate large-scale systems and to reduce costs.

The 2013 Wind Power Roadmap also provides updated analysis on the barriers that exist for the technology and suggests ways to address them, including legal and regulatory recommendations.

Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs)

Wind TCP

The mission of the IEA TCP on Wind is to stimulate co-operation on wind energy R&D and to provide high-quality information and analysis to member governments and industry leaders. This is achieved by assessing recent technology developments, deployment best practice, market uptake, and policy instruments. There are 21 Contracting parties, including Mexico, and two Sponsors.

Learn more about the Wind Energy Systems TCP >

About Technology Collaboration Programmes

The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 38 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries.

Learn more about IEA TCPs >

Our work on Renewables