That seems to be the attitude everywhere around the world: Continued growth will require tweaks by policymakers. That’s certainly true in the United States, where the industry says contraction is already beginning because projects not up and running before the end of the year won’t be eligible for a vital production tax credit.
In the EU, capacity grew by 9,616 MW in 2011, to 93,957 MW. That’s enough to supply 6.3 percent of the EU’s electricity, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “But to achieve the EU’s long-term targets we need strong growth again in future years,” Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA. “A commitment from the European Union to put in place a binding renewable energy target for 2030 would send a very positive signal to potential investors.”
Sawyer said that new markets opening up—in Africa, Asia and Latin America—will prop up growth to a certain extent, but that the big growth the industry seeks is far from certain given the economic environment. “At the end of the day we will be hard pressed to keep the industry’s growth up to its potential without a global price on carbon and other measures to account for the real costs to society of conventional power generation,” he said.
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