Wind power is one of the cleanest and most sustainable sources of energy available to us right now. It is an infinite resource that will never run out, and which produces zero emissions once installed.
But how effective is wind power, how much are we using it, and which countries lead the way?
How does wind energy compare to other energy sources, and what are its pros and cons?
These comprehensive wind energy statistics and data, based on the latest 2022 research, will give you the answers to these and many more questions.
(BP / Ember / EIA)
China (650.6 TWh) produces more electricity from wind energy than any other country, just as it does from solar.
The United States (379.8 TWh) is the second biggest wind energy producer. The US had led the way until 2016, but since then China’s rapidly increasing wind sector has more than doubled its output.
Denmark (47.9%) generated the most wind energy as a percentage of its overall consumption in 2021.
Ireland (32.7%) and Uruguay (32.3%) were also very reliant on wind.
More than 50 countries worldwide used the wind to generate 10% or more of their electricity.
(BP / Ember)
The typical efficiency of a wind turbine is between 20% and 45%.
The efficiency determines how much of the wind’s energy the turbine can actually take and convert into electricity. If this sounds low, consider that a 100% efficiency would mean there actually wasn't any wind coming out of the other side of the turbine.
It is therefore meaningless to compare the efficiency of wind power with other forms of energy because they work in completely different ways.
But it is useful when comparing one turbine to another.
The use of wind power is increasing. Statistics show a steady increase in terms of the percentage of global electricity that comes from wind, which more than trebled in a decade between 2011 (2.04%) and 2021 (6.72%).
China has become the largest offshore wind power generator, as well as the largest overall.
It leapfrogged the UK, which was previously the world leader, with a massive expansion in capacity in 2021.
There was an additional 93 GW of global wind power capacity installed in 2020, the second largest annual increase on record so far.
This represented a 56% increase in global capacity from the previous year.
86.9 GW of onshore capacity was added, as well as 6.1 GW offshore.
60% of the new wind turbines were added in the Asia Pacific region, mostly in China.
On average, a new commercial wind turbine can power 940 homes in the US.
There are caveats of course. Much depends on the size of the house, where it’s located (and the average wind speed in that area), and how much energy is required to run the appliances inside.
But we can make a general estimate using statistical average data.
(EIA / Dept of Energy)
It would take around 2.5 Million onshore wind turbines to provide enough electricity to power the whole world in 2022.
This calculation was first done by GWEC secretary Steve Sawyer back in 2016. But since that time, global electricity consumption has increased, as has the output of wind turbines.
We can now update the figure using the same methodology but substituting the variables with 2022 data.
24,877 TWh (Global annual Electricity Consumption)
0.010116 TWh (Annual output per new commercial wind turbine @ 843,000 kWh per month)
= 2,459,173 Onshore Wind Turbines
(GWEC / Enerdata)