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China is the new world leader in wind power

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08 November 2011

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 three 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 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.
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).
Off the coasts of Great Britain, Germany and Norway, 101 offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 348 MW were erected in the first half of the year.
According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) this newly installed offshore wind energy capacity in Europe represents growth of 4.8% in comparison with the same period of last year. The average size of the turbines has also increased: from 2.9 MW in the first half of 2010 to the current 3.4 MW.
Positive trends can be seen in the offshore wind industry, reports EWEA Chief Executive Christian Kjaer. The industry is slowly recovering from the financial crisis, he says, but the continuing difficult economic situation could bring renewed dangers to further development. There are currently 11 offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 2,844 MW and a value of €8.5 billion being built.
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.
The additional 35.5 GW of wind capacity in 2010 cost China and the whole world about $65 billion.

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