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China Leading World’s Largest Increase in Wind Power Capacity

In China, wind farms with a total capacity of almost 100 GW were built in 2020, an increase of about 60% compared to the previous year. However, a report published in the US reveals that China is also building almost two-thirds of the world's active coal plants.

China’s construction of more new wind farm capacity in 2020 than the entire world combined in the previous year means an annual record in wind farm setups despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

A study found that developers built almost 100 GW of wind farms last year, leading to the largest ever increase in China’s wind power capacity. This rate will provide almost three times the power of households in the UK and is enough to increase approximately 60% compared to the previous year.

Most of the world’s new wind farms are built on land, more than compensating for the 20% drop in new offshore wind power capacity.

The report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance revealed that China is building more than half of the world’s new wind power capacity. Wind farms on land and offshore grew by almost 58GW last year, more than the world’s total wind energy increase in 2019.

Chinese renewable energy developers entered the market before an upcoming cut of new wind energy subsidies from the government, and demand is likely to slow down next year.

A separate report by US campaigners on the Global Energy Monitor revealed that China is also building nearly two-thirds of the world’s active coal plants.

According to the report, in the first six months of last year, China was the location of almost 90% of all coal plants under construction and home to half of the world’s active coal-fired electricity capacity.

China’s President Xi Jinping surprised UN delegates by announcing last year that the world’s fastest-growing economy will ensure its emissions will peak in the next five years and fall to net zero by 2060.

But experts warn that China’s 14th five-year plan, released this month, could lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, apart from giving a few details on how the world’s largest emitter will meet the new climate targets.

In Europe, 12.6GW of renewable energy capacity was added to the new wind farms last year, including the 752MW Borssele wind farm in the Netherlands and the 539MW station in the East Anglia One project in the UK.

The increase in wind farm growth across China and the US has also downgraded Denmark’s Vestas to the position of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer for the first time in five years.

The position of the company was taken by the US turbine firm GE and China’s Xinjiang Goldwind, the two largest turbine suppliers globally.

“GE and Goldwind are in the top two in this year’s rankings, focusing on the largest markets,” said Isabelle Edwards, author of the report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This strategy may not be as efficient as subsidies in these regions will decrease in 2021. “Vestas takes less market risk with turbines commissioned in 34 countries last year,” he said.

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