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China Beats U.S. to Become Number One In Installed Wind Power

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday August 28th, 2012 | 2 Comments

China surpassed the U.S. this year to become the number one in the world for installed wind power generating capacity. In the last six years, installed wind power generating capacity in China increased from 2,000 megawatts (MW) to 52,580 MW, according to the country’s state grid company, the State Grid Corporation, which is the country’s largest utility company. In 2011, China generated 70.6 terrawatt hours (TWh) of wind power, a 96 percent increase. The Chinese government projects that China’s wind generating capacity would be more than 100,000 MW in 2015 and 200,000 MW in 2020.

China’s on-grid capacity reached over 50 gigawatts (GW) to date, according to the State Grid Corporation. This year on-grid wind power capacity under State Grid reached 50.26 GW, an annual growth rate of 87 percent for the last six years.

“We have gone through a lot to reach this point,” said Shu Yingbiao, deputy managing director of the State Grid Corporation at a press conference. “As the wind-generating capacity increases, the industry standard perfects, and the technology improves, the state grid is becoming more and more vital to the fast development of the wind power generation. The company has successfully solved many problems during the course.”

Zhang Zhengling, spokesman for the State Grid, said China’s wind power generation reached a “relatively high level” after measures were taken to monitor and adjust use. However, there could be more efficiency. Regional networks need to be linked to the national power grid, and until that is accomplished it remains an obstacle to further growth, Zhang said.

“The key problem is that regional connections are still weak, and there is not yet a unified national market and corresponding grid network,” said Shu Yinbiao, deputy manager of the State Grid. Shu said that China needs to fast track construction of trans-regional power grids

The International Wind Energy Development report in 2010 predicted that China could create up to 230 GW of wind power capacity by 2030. The report also made predictions about the global market. The wind power market, according to the report, is expected to grow from $96.4 billion in 2011 to $161.2 billion in 2015. By 2020, wind power expected to generate 9.1 percent of the world’s power needs.

The report predicts an average global growth rate of 15.5 percent a year for new annual installations through 2015, which would result in a total global capacity of 513.6 GW by 2015. The report also predicts an average annual growth rate of 11.5 percent from 2016 to 2020, which would bring world capacity to almost 1,000 GW by 2020.

“In 2010 the 600,000 workers of the wind industry put up a new wind turbine every 30 minutes – one in three of those turbines was erected in China (2),” said Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert from Greenpeace International. “By 2030, the market could be three times bigger than today, leading to a €202 bn investment. A new turbine every seven minutes – that’s our goal.”

Photo: Flickr user, Imagefusionstudio

Related post: The Strategy Behind China’s Wind Numbers


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  • Terry Mock

    In his book, “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”,
    multi-Pulitzer-winning journalist Thomas Friedman sayid that the
    greatest thing that the US could do today for itself, and for the whole
    world, would be to announce its intention to “outgreen China” – by
    taking a commanding lead in the race to build the next great global
    industry. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he showed
    how America’s recent lack of focus and national purpose; and the global
    environmental crisis are linked – and how we can restore the world and
    revive America at the same time.

    Sustainable Land Development Initiative
    Building a Bridge to a new Global Culture
    http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/09/building-bridge-new-global-culture/

    • http://twitter.com/gmcheeseman Gina-Marie Cheeseman

      Yes! The U.S. needs to “out-green” China. The trick is to do it with parts made in this country and not in China.