China has been the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of renewable energy for more than a decade but has widened its global lead in the energy transition through a steep acceleration in the rollout of wind capacity since 2021. China added more wind generation capacity in the past two years than over the previous seven, according to the think tank Ember.
China generated 46% more wind power than the whole of Europe in 2022, which had been the world’s top wind power producer until 2020. China’s widening lead over the rest of the world in such a tight timeframe further cements its status as the global clean energy leader. While China has deployed record volumes of both solar and wind power capacity over the past decade, wind capacity has grown more steeply since 2020.
China’s recent wind power expansion has also been sharply higher than that of other major markets. The cumulative growth in 2021 and 2022 was 3.6 times greater than the growth seen over the same period in the United States, and 7.3 times more than in Europe. Around 22% of wind capacity in the United States and 27% in Europe’s top wind producer, Germany, was also installed before 2010, and so is likely to be less efficient than the latest generations of turbines.
China’s rapid rollout of wind capacity, along with a more than 27% surge in solar generation in 2022 from the year before, helped push its electricity share from clean energy sources to a record 34.2% last year. Higher generation of renewable power has also helped cap power costs for consumers, just as the prices of coal and natural gas have risen sharply on international markets.