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Animation: Visualizing the World’s Biggest Wind Turbines

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The World’s Biggest Wind Turbines

Since the early 2000s, wind turbines have grown in size—in both height and blade lengths—to generate more energy per unit.

Today, the tallest turbines can reach over 200 meters (650 ft) in height and cost more than $12 million to manufacture and install.

The above infographic uses data compiled from company portfolios to showcase the biggest wind turbines currently being developed and to put these huge structures into perspective.

Blade Runners

The biggest turbines are all located over water. The so-called offshore turbines can be taller than those onshore, which means they can harness more wind energy and produce more electricity.

MingYang Smart Energy, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, is in the process of building the biggest wind turbine so far.

Their new MySE 16.0-242 model is still under construction and is expected to be online by 2026. It will be 264 meters tall, with a blade length 118 meters long and rotor diameter of 242 meters. It features a nameplate capacity of 16 megawatts that can power 20,000 homes per unit over a 25-year service life. The first commercial turbine will be installed at the MingYang Yangjiang Qingzhou Four offshore wind farm, which is in the South China Sea.

Here are four of the biggest wind turbine models on the market right now, the companies that are making them, and where the prototypes are being installed:

ModelCompanyNameplate capacity (MW)LocationHeight (m)Blade Length (m)Rotor Diameter (m)
MySE 16.0-242MingYang Smart Energy16 MW🇨🇳264118242
SG 14-236 DDSiemens Gamesa14 MW🇩🇰Site Specific115236
Haliade-XGeneral Electric14 MW🇳🇱260107220
V236-15.0Vestas15 MW🇩🇰280116236

These huge structures can be two times taller than a typical turbine currently in operation, generating almost four times more energy.

Prototypes for two of the top four turbine models—the SG 14-236 DD and V236-15.0— are scheduled to be installed in 2022 in Denmark, a country that was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s, and is home to the world’s largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Vestas.

From our list, General Electric’s Haliade-X is the only turbine currently online; the prototype has been operating since October 2021 in the Netherlands.

Wind Energy’s Rapid Global Growth

Wind generated 6.6% of the world’s electricity in 2021, up from 3.5% in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, making it the fastest-growing source of electricity after solar.

A number of countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind energy penetration in their electricity grids.

Wind’s share of electricity generation was nearly 50% in Denmark and sits above 25% in countries such as Ireland, Uruguay, and Portugal. In the United States, wind supplied 8.4% of total electricity generation.

CountryWind Share of Electricity (%)
🇩🇰 Denmark48%
🇺🇾 Uruguay43%
🇮🇪 Ireland33%
🇵🇹 Portugal 27%
🇪🇸 Spain23%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom21%
🇩🇪 Germany20%
🇬🇷 Greece20%
🇰🇪 Kenya16%
🇸🇪 Sweden16%

Source: Ember’s Global Electricity Review 2022
Note: Countries with populations fewer than 3 million in 2021 were not included in this ranking.

The global wind turbine market size was valued at $53.4 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $98.4 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.3%.

As one of the fastest-growing segments of the energy sector, wind energy generation will continue to grow as wind turbines also scale up in size.

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Energy Shift

Visualized: The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Visual Capitalist partnered with EnergyX to analyze five major clean energy stocks and explore the factors driving this growth.

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This line chart shows the growth of clean energy stocks and hints at their cumulative five-year returns.

The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Over the last few years, energy investment trends have shifted from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable energy sources. Long-term energy investors now see significant returns from clean energy stocks, especially compared to those invested in fossil fuels alone.

For this graphic, Visual Capitalist has collaborated with EnergyX to examine the rise of clean energy stocks and gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving this growth.

Sustainable Energy Stock Performance

In 2023, the IEA reported that 62% of all energy investment went toward sustainable sources. As the world embraces sustainable energy and technologies like EVs, it’s no surprise that clean energy companies provide solid returns for their investors over long periods.

Taking the top-five clean energy stocks by market cap (as of April 2024) and charting their five-year cumulative returns, it is clear that investments in clean energy are growing:

CompanyPrice: 01/04/2019Price: 12/29/20245-Year-Return %
First Solar, Inc.$46.32$172.28272%
Enphase Energy, Inc.$5.08$132.142,501%
Consolidated Edison, Inc.$76.55$90.9719%
NextEra Energy, Inc.$43.13$60.7441%
Brookfield Renewable Partners$14.78$26.2878%
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But how does this compare to the performance of fossil fuel stocks?

When comparing the performance of the S&P Global Oil Index and the S&P Clean Energy Index between 2019 and 2023, we see that the former returned 15%, whereas the latter returned an impressive 41%. This trend demonstrates the potential for clean energy stocks to yield significant returns on an industry level, sparking optimism and excitement for potential investors.

A Shift In Returns

With global investment trends moving away from traditional, non-sustainable sources, the companies that could shape the energy transition provide investors with alternative opportunities and avenues for growth.

One such company is EnergyX. The lithium technology company has patented a groundbreaking technology that can improve lithium extraction rates by an incredible 300%, and its stock price has grown tenfold since its first offering in 2021.

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Energy Shift

Visualized: A Decade of Clean Energy Investment

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with EnergyX to explore the growth of global clean energy investment.

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Visualized: A Decade of Clean Energy Investment

Global energy investment is growing every year. But recently, investments in clean energy have been significantly outpacing investments in fossil fuels.

For this graphic, we partnered with EnergyX to explore how global energy investment has changed and learn how investments in clean energy are starting to pay off for their investors.

The Rise of Sustainable Energy Investment

Propelled by various climate initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the widespread adoption of EVs, global investment in sustainable energy surged to over $1.7 trillion in 2023, the highest ever, and the IEA projects that this growth could continue:

Energy Product20202021202220232030F
Clean Electrification$0.97T$1.05$1.21T$1.34T$1.65T
Low-Emission Fuels$0.01T$0.01$0.01T$0.02T$0.05T
Energy Efficiency$0.28T$0.35$0.39T$0.38T$0.49T
Clean Energy Total$1.26T$1.41T$1.61T$1.74T$2.19T
Natural Gas$0.26T$0.27T$0.31T$0.32T$0.35T
Oil$0.42T$0.48T$0.52T$0.55T$0.60T
Coal$0.16T$0.16T$0.18T$0.18T$0.11T
Fossil Fuel Total$0.84T$0.91T$1.01T$1.05T$1.06T
Total Energy Investment$2.10T$2.32T$2.62T$2.79T$3.25T
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Between 2020 and 2030, global investment in sustainable energy could increase by 74% to nearly $2.2 trillion, compared to just 26% additional investment in fossil fuels, with a forecast total of $1.06 trillion. This shows that sustainability is the future of energy investment.

Sustainable Investor Success Stories

While the growing investments in clean energy show that the world embraces sustainability, energy investors will still look for decent returns. Now, in 2024, clean energy investments are beginning to bear fruit. Here are just a few examples:

  • Between 2019 and 2023, Tesla had a cumulative return of 1,073%
  • NextEra Energy’s quarterly dividend increased by over 10% as of February 2024
  • Investors in EnergyX have 10x’ed their investments since the company’s first offering in 2021

Lithium plays a critical role in powering electric vehicles (EVs) and facilitating the transition to sustainable energy. EnergyX has patented technology that enhances lithium extraction rates by up to 300%, contributing to meeting the growing demand for lithium and fueling the EVs of the future.

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