After five years of rapid development, the global wind power sector began to slow its growth for the first time in 2010, under the influence of the world's slow economic recovery and unclear U.S. policy. The growth rate fell to 3.1%, a decline of 40% compared to 2009 rates.
Despite this trend, wind power will continue to grow over the next five years. The European Union hopes that by 2015, the installed capacity of wind power will reach 150 to 180GW. The U.S. is set to lay out favorable policies for the development of both wind and solar power generation after 2011.
At the beginning of India's Eleventh Five Year Plan, the Indian government hopes to have renewable energy make up 35% of its total installed energy capacity. There are also many encouraging signs from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, among other regions. These new trends and changes ensure the continued fast development of the wind power industry.
In 2010, Mainland China added 18.93GW of newly installed wind power capacity, thus maintaining its lead in the global growth ranking. By the end of 2010, China's total installed wind capacity reached 44.73GW, overtaking that of the U.S. to become the largest in the world. Currently, 29 provinces and regions in Mainland China have wind farms. Inner Mongolia has 13.85GW of installed capacity, the largest in China, closely followed by Gansu, Hebei and Liaoning Provinces.
China is the first nation outside of Europe to build offshore wind farms. As of the end of 2010, its total installed capacity of offshore wind farms grew about 150MW. This should expand to 5GW by 2015 and about 30 GW by 2020, according to current targets. At the same time, according to estimates by industry experts, by the end of 2015, the total installed capacity of China's wind power sector is expected to reach 100 to 150GW.
With improvements in the economics of wind power generation, the gradual resolution of issues related to connecting wind power to the grid, and with the strong support of government policy, China will continue to lead the world in wind power generation for the next five years.
Even though China's wind power sector is more than 20 years old, it only began to develop at a significant rate in 2003. The following are the key political reasons why the sector's development has been so successful:
- Clear development objectives and plans;
- Establishment of a clear legal framework;
- Involvement of a variety of investment sources in the sector.
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Continue Reading: China Wind Power Outlook 2011
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