China is now the global leader in the rapidly growing wind energy sector. The International Wind Energy Development (IWED) report predicts that the wind power market, is expected to grow from $96.4 billion in 2011 to $161.2 billion in 2015. By 2020, wind power expected to supply almost 10 percent (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 2012 China surpassed the US and is now the world’s leading nation in terms of installed wind power generating capacity. In six years China has installed more than 50,000 MW of wind power generating capacity. This represents an annual growth rate of 87 percent for the last six years.
In 2011, China generated 70.6 terrawatt hours (TWh) of wind power, a 96 percent increase. 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.
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. The IWED report in 2010 predicted that China could create up to 230 GW of wind power capacity by 2030. By 2030, the market could be three times bigger than today, representing an investment of more than a quarter trillion dollars. This means a new turbine will be erected every seven minutes.
Despite this exceptional growth, the power grid is one of the China’s major weaknesses. To address this problem the country needs to fast track construction of trans-regional power grids.