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Global wind output primed for new peak as spring breezes blow: Maguire


World wind-powered electricity output could hit record highs over the coming weeks as wind speeds pick up across key wind farms in China, Europe and the United States as the northern hemisphere spring sets in.

A combination of shifts in jet streams and changes to the sun’s angle on the earth tend to increase wind speeds at turbine level during the spring months, and lead to higher levels of wind power generation than at other times of the year.

Fossil fuel-powered generation also tends to drop during the spring months due to lower heating demand, which allows for wind power to register its highest share of total electricity production for the year during the spring months.


Wind speed changes are particularly important in China and the United States, which are the top two wind generation markets globally and account for around 55% of worldwide wind power output, according to energy think tank Ember.

In 2023, China’s wind sector generated a new record of 867 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity thanks to strong pick ups in wind speeds during spring and winter. The United States, however, registered a rare contraction in wind generation in 2023 due to below-average wind speeds during early summer. That mid-year underperformance of the U.S. wind sector came despite an increase in overall wind generation capacity in 2023, and that capacity is expected to have climbed higher still as of the start of 2024.

Should wind speeds in both China and the United States undergo their historic climbs to their annual peaks over the coming weeks, total wind-powered electricity generation should climb sharply too, and allow for wind power’s share of total generation mixes to scale new highs in the process.


Higher wind speeds and reduced production from coal and natural gas-fired power plants helped push wind power’s share of total electricity generation in China and the United States to a record last April of 13.05% and 13.95% respectively.

This year, increased wind generation capacity in both countries, as well as in Europe, could propel wind power’s share of generation mixes higher still, and help wind power score a record share of worldwide electricity generation.

In 2023, wind power’s share of global electricity generation peaked at 9.59% in November.

But in 2024 that share could easily surpass the 10% threshold if wind farms across the United States and China receive the usual rise in wind speeds and perform at capacity.


Wind speeds across key wind generation zones in Asia, Europe and North America are already approaching their historical peaks for the year, according to the Global Wind Atlas.

In China’s northwest, which is home to many of the country’s largest wind farms, wind speeds are already averaging around 8 meters (26 ft) to 9 meters per second at turbine height, which is typically near the highest levels recorded throughout the year.

Similarly, wind speeds across Midwest states which are home to a majority of U.S. wind farms are currently in the 7 meters to 9 meters per second range, and are likely to climb further as temperatures warm up over the coming month or so.

In Europe, wind speeds are also nearing their traditional annual peaks, especially offshore, which should result in a steady climb in regional wind output ahead of the traditional summer doldrums when wind generation in Europe bottoms out.

Globally, however, the mix of currently high wind speeds along with increased generation capacity should help steer world wind electricity output to new heights this spring, and allow wind power to gain a record share of the global electricity generation mix.


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