China To Dominate Wind Energy

The Asian giant in 2009 installed more wind turbines than all of Europe and by 2017 could have the world’s largest total capacity, said Angelika Pullen, spokeswoman for the Global Wind Energy Council, an industry group.

China in 2009 installed 13 gigawatts of new wind power capacity, compared to 10 GW in Europe and 9.9 GW in the United States, figures from the GWEC indicate.

"From 2005 on, China each year doubled its wind power capacity," Pullen said Tuesday at a news conference in Berlin. "Can they continue this trend? Well, every year we say ‘likely not,’ and then they double their capacity again."

At Husum Wind Energy, one of the world’s biggest wind trade fairs, Asian wind turbine companies will play a prominent role.

"The Asian wind turbines companies will present their own products at Husum," said Hanno Fecke, the managing director of the fair, which in 2010 will feature 800 exhibitors from 30 countries. While European and U.S. companies still dominate the turbine sector, the Chinese industry has grown strongly.

"There are 30 wind turbine producers and 40 suppliers in China," Pullen said, adding that the country had also boosted its infrastructure. Due to lacking grid connections, it used to take up to half a year or longer until wind farms would actually go online. "Today, it takes only 1 to 2 months," Pullen said.

Meanwhile, growth within Europe is expected to remain strong.

Wind energy will account for half of the European Union’s power mix in 2030 said Gerd Krieger, the deputy chief executive officer of the German Engineering Federation, or VDMA.

That means around 330 GW of wind power capacity will have to be built until 2030, with projected investments of around $30 billion per year, Krieger said. Then, on- and offshore turbines will produce nearly the same amount of power, with 170 GW onshore capacity and 110 GW offshore capacity

The European Wind Energy Association on Tuesday also unveiled its forecast for 2010, saying that 10 GW worth of wind power capacity will be installed in Europe this year.

"We predict another strong year for wind turbine installations in Europe, repeating the high level achieved in 2009," Christian Kjaer, the CEO of EWEA, said in a statement. "What is encouraging is that, unlike 2009, the 2010 results consist of orders placed after the start of the financial crisis. This shows continued and strong investor confidence in the technology."