In what was “not an easy year for the Chinese wind industry,” according to Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA) Secretary General Li Junfeng, the country’s wind builders nevertheless built at least 18 gigawatts of wind in 2011, 44 percent of all the wind built in the world last year.
The U.S. recovered from a weaker 2010, largely because the rush began late in 2011 to get as many towers in the ground as possible before the production tax credit (PTC) expires at the end of 2012. That led to 6,810 megawatts of new installed capacity for the year, second best in the world but little more than a third of what China built.
The world built 41 gigawatts of new wind capacity in 2011, a 21 percent increase over 2010. Today, 75 countries have utility-scale wind and 22 have more than a gigawatt of installed capacity. Led by China and India, the bulk of new installation was in emerging economies rather than their developed counterparts.
China instituted new standards for its turbine builders and its grid in 2011, but that did not stop its robust and subsidized industry from bringing its cumulative installed capacity to 62 gigawatts, just over a quarter of all the wind in the world. Chinese industry leaders expect even bigger 2012 numbers, Li said.