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China crowned world’s biggest wind market for the fourth year in a row

Date
04 February 2013
China crowned world’s biggest wind market for the fourth year in a row

BEIJING: China installed more than one third of the world’s new onshore wind capacity in 2012, positioning the nation as the world’s largest wind market in terms of yearly capacity.

China installed 15.9 gigawatts of onshore wind power in 2012, making up 35% of all new capacity worldwide, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Wind power is now China’s third biggest energy resource after coal and hydropower and accounts for over 5% of the nation’s total energy mix, as outlined in data by China’s State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Leading the global market

This is the fourth year in a row that China has dominated the global wind market, after it overtook the US in 2009.

While the US installed a record 13.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2012, it still fell short of China’s leading figures, of which look to continue to grow throughout 2013. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts have forecast that China will install over 16GW wind capacity this year and then 17-18GW in 2014 and 2015.

Demi Zhu, China wind analyst, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), said: “2012 was a good year for the Chinese wind industry, considering how tough the environment was. […] This year however, project approvals have sped up and we forecast a modest recovery in both financing activity and construction in 2013. The fact that China wind overtook nuclear as a generation source even in its most challenging year of recent times is a testament to the massive scale and momentum of the industry in this country.”

Policy targets

At this rapid rate, China’s wind industry will hit the Government target of 100GW of grid-connected capacity by 2015 more than a year early.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group said: “As the fugures compiled by BNEF demonstrate, China continues its commitment to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by aggressively growing its renewable energy sector. The numbers prove the fact that the domestic market of installations of clean energy has now taken off.

“And yet challenges remain in both technical and institutional aspects. While China's recent extremely severe air pollution in large parts of the country has added a sense of urgency in society to address the issue, today more ambitious policy targets to set a cap on fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions are required more urgently than ever.

“China now has very high political will to embark on a more sustainable development path. Actions are required to solve the difficult puzzle by putting together policy incentives, technology innovation and capital flows, so that China can achieve its growth ambition in a cleaner and green manner.”

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By Clare Saxon

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