According to statistics published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in February this year, China has now overtaken the EU for total installed wind energy capacity. In fact, China installed almost three times as much wind than the EU and now has 145GW total capacity to the EU’s 142GW. PES takes a closer look…
Due to China’s surge of installations, the global wind power industry installed 63,013 MW in 2015, representing annual market growth of 22%. The US market reached 8.6 GW on the back of a strong fourth quarter surge, and Germany led a stronger than expected performance in Europe with a record 6 GW of new installations, including 2.3 GW offshore. Total global capacity reached 432,419 MW at the end of 2015, representing cumulative growth of 17%.
“Wind power is leading the charge in the transition away from fossil fuels”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC. “Wind is blowing away the competition on price, performance and reliability, and we’re seeing new markets open up across Africa, Asia and Latin America which will become the market leaders of the next decade. Wind power led new capacity additions in both Europe and the United States, and new turbine configurations have dramatically increased the areas where wind power is the competitive option.”
The Chinese government’s drive for clean energy, supported by continuous policy improvement, is motivated by the need to reduce dependence on coal which is the main source of the choking smog strangling China’s major cities, as well as growing concern over climate change. Beijing expects renewable energy, including wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower, to make up 30 per cent of its total energy mix by 2020. Non-fossil fuel sources will still be dwarfed by coal, with a 60 per cent share.