China is Largest Driver of Global Wind Power Development

China added 18.9 GW of new wind power capacity last year to reach a total installed capacity of 44.7 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The new numbers for China also result in revised figures for global wind power growth in 2010, with the new capacity added over the year amounting to 38.3 GW (close to the 2009 market), taking the total to 197 GW, which represents a 24% growth.

“China has become the single largest driver for global wind power development. In 2010, every second wind turbine that was added anywhere in the world was installed in China.” says Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.

China’s wind market doubled every year between 2005 and 2009 in terms of total installed capacity, and it has been the world’s largest annual market since 2009. In 2010, China overtook the US as the country with the most installed wind energy capacity.

This strong growth in China has had a significant impact on the market shares of wind turbine manufacturers, which see Chinese companies increasing their overall shares of the global wind markets. Indeed, four out of the top ten global wind turbine manufacturers are now Chinese, with Sinovel and Goldwind ranking second and fourth respectively. Domestic manufacturers now supply more than 50% of the equipment used in Chinese wind power projects.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the growth in installed capacity was driven by a record level of investment in wind power in China, which exceeded $20 billion in 2009. In the third quarter of 2010, China’s investment in new wind power projects accounted for half of the global total.

The Chinese government report Development Planning of New Energy Industry optimistically calculated that the cumulative installed capacity of China’s wind power will reach 200 GW by 2020 and generate 440 TWh of electricity annually, creating more than RMB250 billion (Eur28 billion or $38 billion) in revenue.

The Chinese government’s twelfth Five-Year Plan, which was passed by the Chinese Parliament in March 2011, reflects the Chinese government’s continuous and reinforced commitment to wind power development, with a target of building an additional 90 GW of wind energy by 2015.

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