Climate Action

China blows wind energy market forward

After poor performance in 2010, a global wind power association report predicts growth in the sector for 2011, largely driven by China and other emerging economies. Europe is expected to remain the number two market up until 2015, but there are concerns that EU energy policy does not focus sufficiently on the long term.

  • 16 March 2011
  • Simione Talanoa

After what the industry called a “tough year” in 2010, a new report (15 March) by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) expects the wind energy market to grow in 2011, with China being the main driver of this growth.

GWEC, a trade association representing the sector internationally, forecasts over 40 GW of additional wind power to be added to the global power supply in 2011.

The report also predicts that the wind power capacity will more than double 2010 levels, to 450 GW, by 2015.

Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s secretary general said: “2011 is looking up.

“We’ve paid the price for the 2008/9 financial crisis last year, and now we’re back on track.”

The developing world and the emerging economies accounted for the majority of growth in the sector last year, in particular China and India.

GWEC expect China to be adding 20 GW of wind power every year by 2015 – meaning it would comfortably exceed its target of setting up 70 GW of new wind power by then.

Meanwhile in Europe, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expressed concern (14 March) that the lack of a binding renewable energy target for 2030 might hamper long-term investment in the sector.

Arthouros Zervos, president of EWEA, warned, “the wind industry expects to invest some EUR 400 billion in Europe between now and 2030. To do so it needs stable and certain EU energy policy."  

Zervos believes that politicians are not looking far enough into the future.

"We must ensure that the renewable energy targets established in 2001 and 2009 are replicated for the period after 2020 with ambitious 2030 targets.

“We must ensure that that the success story of renewable energy in Europe survives beyond 2020."

GWEC expects Europe to hold onto its position as the second largest wind energy market up until 2015 but their report notes that China, now the world’s leading wind power generator, “has a clear commitment to developing the country’s massive wind resource”.

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan was formally approved this week; the government has pledged to increase the proportion of non-fossil fuels in their energy portfolio to 11-15 percent by 2020.

Zervos’ concerns echo the sentiment laid out in a letter (14 March) from a number of European environment ministers including the UK’s Chris Huhne to newspaper the Guardian.

The ministers recognise the value of the EU’s target of reducing emissions at least 80% by 2050 but call for a plan demonstrating how the target will be achieved.

For further information:

GWEC Global Wind Report 2010
Letter to the Guardian (DECC)
EWEA EU Energy Policy 2050 report


Image: vaxomatic | Flickr