China adds 18.9 GW of new wind farm capacity in 2010

This figure, which was published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA) and the Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA), is substantially higher than the initial estimate released earlier this year.

These 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.” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General.

“The installed capacity of 44.7 GW includes turbines which have been grid connected and are delivering electricity, even if they have not yet completed the commissioning and acceptance procedure, which can take several months. This explains the much reported ‘gap’ between installation and grid connection which is often reported from China. In other markets, it is common practice to include all turbines as soon as they are grid connected and producing electricity,” said Qin Haiyan, Secretary General of CWEA.

China’s wind turbines 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 United States 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.

“The growth of wind power in China has also spurred a boom in domestic manufacturing, and four out of the top 10 global wind turbine manufacturers are now Chinese, with Sinovel and Goldwind ranking second and fourth respectively,” said Li Junfeng, CREIA’s President. “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 US$ 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 RMB 250 billion (EUR 28 bn / USD 38 bn) 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.