China has overtaken the United States as the country with the most installed wind energy capacity according to wind energy associations’ reports. In 2010, China added 18.9 gigawatts of new wind energy capacity to its portfolio.
China’s total installed capacity reached 44.7 GW last year, which is 11 percent higher than the overall wind power capacity of the United States, now second only to China.
China is seen as responsible for pulling the entire global wind power capacity, which is now at 197 GW.
The Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association and the Chinese Wind Energy Association released the figures, which were substantially higher than the earlier estimates according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
“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 G.W.E.C. secretary general Steve Sawyer in a statement.
C.W.E.A. secretary general Qin Haiyan said the installed capacity of 44.7 GW includes turbines which have been connected to the grid and are delivering electricity, even if they have not yet completed the commissioning and acceptance procedure, which can take several months.
Government support in wind energy investments was seen as a factor driving the growth in installed capacity and of Chinese wind manufacturers exporting products and supplying the global market.
China’s largest exporting manufacturers include Sinovel, Goldwind and Dongfang Electric, one of the world’s top 10 suppliers along with Germany’s Vestas, Spain’s Gamesa, and India’s Suzlon.
“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, president of C.R.E.I.A.
About 20 wind manufacturers were accountable for the added capacity with three Chinese companies – Ruihua Machinery, Goldwind and East Steam – topping the local wind market shares.
“Domestic manufacturers now supply more than 50 percent of the equipment used in Chinese wind power projects,” Mr. Li said.
With its vast coastline and large offshore islands, China is said to be rich in wind energy resources that can be developed for over 3,000 gigawatts of capacity.