Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to generate electricity. Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land, while offshore turbines are located out at sea or in fresh water.
Wind turbines come in many sizes: small-scale wind turbines are rated 10-50 kW, are generally intended to supply electricity to buildings and may or may not be connected to the grid. Utility-scale wind turbines, generally rated between several hundred kilowatts and a few megawatts each, form wind farms onshore (predominantly in rural areas) and offshore, and are almost always grid-connected.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) more than 54 GW of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market in 2016, in more than 90 countries. 9 countries have more than 10,000 MW installed, and 29 have now passed the 1,000 MW mark. Cumulative global capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8 GW.
Wind power penetration levels continue to increase, led by Denmark pushing 40%, followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with well over 20%, Spain and Cyprus around 20%, Germany at 16%; and the big markets of China, the US and Canada create 4%, 5.5%, and 6% of their power respectively from wind. GWEC predicts almost 60 GW of new wind installations in 2017, rising to an annual market of about 75 GW by the end of 2021, when the total capacity will be over 800 GW.
At greenCrowd, our focus is on portfolios of small to intermediate wind turbines (50-900 kW). We also like large stand-alone turbines and wind projects that are combined with solar PV and energy storage to provide a reliable, year round source of sustainable power to communities.