INTRO: WIND BLOWS HARD
Wind power already supplies 40 million people globally with electricity and is the world's fastest growing energy source:
- from 1992 to 2003, the global installed capacity increased from 2,500 megawatts (MW) to over 40,300 MW: an annual growth rate of nearly 30%;
- almost 3/4 of wind capacity has been installed in Europe;
- in 2001, 86% of the installed wind capacity was located in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States;
- in 2003 alone, more than 8,300 MW of wind power was installed worldwide, valued at € 8 billion and generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 19 million average European homes, close to 47 million people;
- over 50 countries around the world now contribute to the global total, whilst the number of people employed by the industry is estimated to be around 90-100,000, with 70-80,000 of these in Europe;
- over 50,000 small wind turbines provide electricity in remote rural areas around the world.