With 42.3 GW of wind power installed, China has now become the new world leader in wind power, having overtaken the US, with 40.2 GW, which itself bypassed the longtime world leader Germany in 2008.
After four years of doubling its installed wind power capacity annually between 2006 and 2009, China added a record 16.5 GW in 2010. According to a detailed report(pdf) from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, nearly 20% of all net additional power generation capacity in China is now wind power, nearly on par with its hydro. China now leads the world in large-scale hydropower with 21% of global production.
Hydropower output increased by 5.3% in 2010 with China accounting for more than half of the growth, due to an increase in capacity and favourable (wet) weather in 2010. As the climate heats up causing wilder wetter storms, hydropower could supply more energy in regions that are due for increased precipitation under a warming scenario, such as the Pacific Northwest, which has recently had to shut down other sources as storms so much increased hydropower production.
US wind installations dropped to half the rate of 2009, when the Obama administration Recovery Act provided a onetime boost. With the return of a much more fossil-friendly House, policies that help grow renewable power have been halted once again. September 30th saw the last of the DOE’s successful loan guarantee program, as Republicans, who dispute scientists on climate change, and have no problem with pollution, oppose supporting renewable energy.
But the rest of the world made up the difference. The European Union nations as a whole installed an additional 9.3 GW of wind in 2010, bringing their total to 84.1 GW. This should, in a normal wind year, produce 5.3% of overall EU electricity consumption according to GWEC (2011).
Worldwide wind power capacity grew 22.5% in 2010 with 35.5 GW installed, bringing the new world total to 194.4 GW, with nearly half of the new installations in China, and most in the developing world.
So, what did it cost China and the world to add 35.5 GW of wind capacity in 2010? About $65 billion. Total world wind capacity is now 194.4 GW, according to the report.