North, Central and South America installed 11.9 gigawatts (GW) capacity of wind power in 2018, an increase of 12 percent on last year, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) data on Tuesday.
In North America, namely Canada and the U.S., new capacity additions grew by 10.8 percent compared to 2017 whereas in Latin America, new capacity additions rose by 18.7 percent compared to 2017.
According to the report entitled WindSight The Americas in 2018, in North America, the recent and final extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) has driven volume.
The federal renewable electricity PTC is an inflation-adjusted per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit for electricity generated by qualified energy resources and sold by the taxpayer to an unrelated person during the taxable year.
In Latin America, the commitment to auctions has continued to deliver volume for the region, and in 2019, this is expected to continue its growth with a further expansion of the supply chain.
In North America, the wind industry supports over 160,000 jobs, according to Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association.
The report highlighted that the total installed wind capacity in North, South and Central America reached 135 GW in 2018, from which the leading countries were the U.S. Brazil and Mexico.
According to the report, Brazil installed 2 GW of added capacity during 2018 and auctioned further capacity at world beating prices of as low as $22 per megawatt-hour.
Mexico installed almost 1 GW of new capacity, a record high in capacity additions that now totals 5GW of capacity. This had led Mexico to be well on it way to reach its target of generating 35 percent of its power capacity through renewables before 2024.
The report showed that strong growth in wind energy generation is making a key contribution to helping countries meet their international climate agreement commitments while satisfying rising energy demand.
"It [wind] forms a crucial part of the solution to reduce emissions, strengthen energy security, lower costs, and boost investment into local economies," the report said.
By Gulsen Cagatay