Global wind power capacity tops nuclear energy for first time

worldwide The capacity of wind power generation worldwide reached 432 GW at the end of 2015, up 17 percent from a year earlier and surpassing nuclear energy for the first time, according to data released by global industry bodies. The global nuclear power generation capacity at the end of 2015 in comparison was 383 GW, according to the World Nuclear Association.

However, this does not mean that more electricity is actually produced from wind than from nuclear power. Wind power is dependent on the wind conditions and seldom produces over half of the maximum capacity. While older wind turbines have a utilization rate down to 20 percent, a modern facility such as Vattenfall’s Horns Rev 2 in Denmark has a utilization rate of over 50 percent, according to the Danish Wind Energy Association. By comparison, the nuclear plant production on average is approximately 85 percent globally, according to the WNA.

China led all other countries in wind energy generation capacity as well as in new installed wind capacity. However, China is also installing a lot of nuclear capacity in order to decrease fossil-based production. Proportionally the most wind energy in the world is produced in Denmark. More than 40 percent of the country's electricity consumption was generated by wind power last year.

The Japan Times: Global wind power capacity tops nuclear energy for first time

Related content