Clean Power

Published on April 15th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


China’s Wind Energy Capacity Tops 92 GW With 16 GW Addition In 2013

April 15th, 2014 by  

China Wind Energy Farm

A wind farm in Jingtai County, Gansu province, China
Credit: Popolon | CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2013, China witnessed yet another year of impressive wind energy capacity addition. While the total capacity added was off the peak levels seen a couple of years ago, the Asian giant still managed to add 45% of all the wind energy capacity added in 2013.

According to the latest data released by the Chinese Wind Energy Association, the country added a staggering 16,089 MW of wind energy capacity [pdf], pushing the cumulative installed wind energy capacity to 92,038 MW at the end of 2013. The annual capacity addition grew by 24% while the cumulative capacity grew by 21% in 2013. Globally, a total of 35,501 MW wind energy capacity was added. Wind capacity addition in China was more than the capacity added in all of Europe.

The offshore wind energy sector saw a massive decline in 2013. Only 39 MW capacity was added last year, pushing the cumulative installed capacity to 428 MW. Only three companies installed new offshore projects last year.

Local Leaders

Inner Mongolia remains the leading province in terms of cumulative installed capacity. It, however, lagged behind in capacity addition in 2013, coming second to Xinjiang, which added 3,146 MW capacity. Shanxi and Shandong provinces completed the top four provinces in terms of capacity addition in 2013. These four provinces collectively added 46% of the national capacity addition last year.

Inner Mongolia, blessed with high wind energy potential, has the highest wind energy installed capacity in China. With 20,270 MW capacity installed by the end of 2013, the province commands a share of over 22% of national installed capacity.

Leading Companies

Vision Energy, Shanghai Electric, and XEMC were the top three manufacturers providing technology to wind energy projects last year. All three manufactures provided over 1,000 MW of wind turbines to project developers and represent 20% of the installed capacity last year. Vestas supplied just over 500 MW of wind energy turbines installed in 2013 translating to a share of 3.3% while the share of other global brands like Gamesa and GE was around 1% each.

Sinovel Wind and Goldwind are the leading manufactures of offshore wind energy turbines in China with a respective market share of 39.7% and 25.5%.

On a cumulative basis, almost 19,000 MW (21%) of Chinese wind energy capacity has been manufactured by Goldwind while just over 15,000 MW (16.5%) has been supplied by Sinovel Wind. Among global brands, Vestas commands the highest share in installed capacity (4.9% or about 4,500 MW), with Gamesa in second place (4% or about 3,500 MW) and GE in third place (2% or about 1,800 MW).

This aggressive expansion of the wind energy capacity has helped China generate more electricity from wind energy than nuclear energy for the first time. If the country manages to sustain this rate of capacity addition, it may very well achieve an installed capacity of 1,000 GW by 2050.

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • james braselton

    they showed china bought 100 telsa eletric cars thats few thousand pounds of removing co2 redutuiion

    • Bob_Wallace

      One person in China bought 100 Tesla S EVs. He’s having them converted into convertibles.

      China has number of EV manufacturers and the government is pushing EVs.

  • CaptD

    Building distant generation makes great sense for the Chinese, since it will not only tap into a great energy source but it will also encourage construction of transmission lines and other infrastructure that will make the entire area more valuable.

    Those that install first, will profit first, so it is smart for these Companies to develop areas where the wind potential is greatest ASAP and then that development will then encourage China’s Political leaders to build the Regional Grid to make use of it.

  • Michael Berndtson

    Renewables should pull together new metrics for installation capacity and delivered potential. Our brilliant prognosticators in conservative media like George Will and divine seers at think tanks like American Enterprise Institute (AEI) could become performance metrics. For instance, here’s how renewables should be reported: in 2013, China installed 17 George Wills in wind capacity, generating 1,000,000,000 Giga AEIs in electricity.

    1 George Will = screen time on Sunday morning talking heads shows X heat generated for studio lighting X big words to electricity conversion factor X conservative pundit eyerolls

    1 AEI = 0.00000001 X something actual that gets done in the world X mechanical to electrical energy conversion factor

    • Duncan Frame

      You misspelt procrastinator.

      • Michael Berndtson

        I’m thinking about checking into it in future.

        • Duncan Frame

          Sure enough it can wait.

        • CaptD

          Good Thinking 🙂

  • Will E

    Chinese are Smart.
    With clean cheap home made Wind Energy they will be competitive in production
    and push USA and Europe out of competition.
    as they did with cheap labor, next China thing will be cheap energy
    Europe energy imports costs cannot compete,
    Fracking and shaling in the USA cannot compete.

    time for a wake up.

    • Duncan Frame

      The Chinese rely on European and US export markets. So they can’t destroy their economies. Unless they somehow build a consumer market big enough to sustain their output but they are a long way from that. And the growth they have achieved is courtesy a rather large debt bubble so it will be interesting to see how they handle that.

  • JamesWimberley

    Year-on-year changes in single countries are noisy, even in large countries like China. Still more in sub-sectors like offshore, with a small number of large projects. I suggest adding the five-year average growth rates.

    Why so much in Xinjiang? It’s as far from the centres of China’s population as you can get. Are the Chinese thinking already about metereological balancing, for which you need spans of thousands of kilometres?

    Are Chinese wind farms emulating the efficiency gains won in Europe and the US with clever controls and designs better tuned to wind conditions?

    • Ronald Brakels

      Sometimes when a country has something big, it feel the need to go big, even if going big doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and they’d actually be better off with a whole heap of small. We can see this impulse in democracies and countries that have other methods of organising themselves have an even worse reputation for this sort of thing. China has a huge wind sources in Xinjiang and so maybe they felt the need to exploit it despite the transmission difficulties. More likely I think they are pushing for increased economic development in their hinterlands and building the wind turbines there now, which they would end up doing in the future anyway, is one way to do that. Or maybe it’s just that officials in Xianjiang just said, “We have lots of wind, let’s run with that!” and successfully pushed for a lot of wind power plans to be approved.

      As for whether China is going for higher capacity but lower peak output wind turbines other countries have taken, it would seem to make an awful lot of sense given their tranmission bottlenecks, and they could certainly reverse engineer the latest imported wind turbines. But if rewards are based on kilowatt-hours produced rather than market value of electricity produced they may stick with higher peak output lower capacity turbines.

      And what is really clear is, I need to learn more about wind power in China. Then I might actually know something instead of just speculating.

    • Duncan Frame

      China has a tendency to incentivise growth in certain areas that emphasises bulk, and economies of scale. The nuances of distribution and effective usage tend to come in later because that takes longer to resolve and would delay installation of potential capacity.

      The challenges arising from this second aspect seems to run even deeper with China than other countries, where sheer size makes it difficult to coordinate implementation through government. Indeed it would be difficult for a central government to find a way of effectively incentivising the fine-tuning of distribution and optimisation.

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