China has highest installed wind power capacity

N. Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on February 02, 2011


China has the highest installed wind power capacity in the world now. It has leapfrogged past Germany and the US to the top slot at the end of 2010. India retains its fifth position, according to details released by the Global Wind Energy Council on Wednesday.

China, which was at the third spot at the end of 2009, added 16,500 MW during 2010, slightly less than half the total installation of 35,800 MW globally during the year. India added 2,139 MW during the year, taking its total installed capacity to 13,065 MW.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), total installed wind energy capacity went up to 194,400 MW at the end of 2010, a 22.5 per cent increase over the previous year. The new capacity added during the year represents investments worth $65 billion.

“For the first time in 2010, more than half of all new wind power was added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America. This was mainly driven by the continuing boom in China, which accounted for nearly half the new wind installations,” says a press release on GWEC's web site.

Market down

Overall, however, the wind market was down in 2010 for the first time in 20 years, shrinking by seven per cent from 38,600 MW in 2009. The GWEC attributed this to a disappointing year in the US and a slowdown in Europe. “This was a result of the financial crisis, low levels of wind turbines orders working their way through the system, a depressed OECD electricity demand, as well as policy uncertainty in the US,” the GWEC said.

The US, traditionally one of the strongest wind markets, saw its annual installations drop by nearly half to 5,115 MW from 9,922 MW in 2009.

The release quoted Mr Steve Sawyer, Secretary-General, GWEC, as saying that wind power is now rapidly expanding beyond the traditional rich country markets, “a clear sign of its growing competitiveness.”

“This is a trend we are expecting to see developing further in the future, not only in Asia. We are also seeing encouraging signs in Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico, and in both northern and sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

In a recent interview, Mr Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and Managing Director, Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of the Spain wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa, expected the Indian wind turbine market to stabilise at about 3,500-4,000 MW annually from 2011-12.

Indian scene

The Indian market is picking up for various reasons. Companies with a depreciation appetite and those with captive power requirements are investing in wind power. Also, the independent power producer market is picking up with large players entering the sector.

Tariffs have improved in all the States and the incentive provided by the Government of India for generating power from wind has improved the rate of return.

The Renewable Energy Certificate, which permits trading, has opened up, providing yet another revenue opportunity.

“I will not be surprised if the market goes beyond 5,000 MW per annum for wind alone, in the near future,” Mr Kymal said.

Published on February 02, 2011

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