This article was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Losing to China

The Chinese government’s latest five-year roadmap for renewable energy shows continued growth in the wind sector, with 100 GW (gigawatts) of projects likely to be developed through 2015 — the amount of capacity developed world-wide in 2008.

And that’s during a “slowdown.” Compared to the breathtaking growth in installations between 2007 and 2009 in China, the 38% growth in 2010 was a noticeable change. With Project developers in the country still facing quality control problems and grid interconnection roadblocks, and manufacturers seeing declining profits in a crowded market, there are plenty of on-the-ground challenges in China.

But strong government targets and a hunger for any energy sources available are pushing a steady increase in installations, making China a continued leader in the global wind market. The Chinese government projects that by 2050, the market will reach 1,000 GW of installed capacity and be worth $1.9 trillion. That would meet roughly 20% of electricity demand in the country.

That’s a staggering amount of wind development. China and the U.S., the number one and number two wind markets in the world respectively, both have installed capacity in the mid 40-GW range. But while the U.S. has only state-level targets that run through the mid-2020′s, China is looking 25 years further and projecting an installation of more than 20 times that amount.

And by 2020, Chinese officials say wind will be competitive with coal there — an economic cross-over of absolute necessity, considering the baffling amount of coal being consumed in China.

In addition to wind, China may see up to 5 GW of solar-photovoltaic installations through 2015, and 20 GW of installs through 2020.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published January 8, 2012, at Photo by Chris Lim via Wikimedia Commons, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Stephen Lacey

Stephen Lacey

Stephen Lacey is a reporter/blogger for Climate Progress, where he writes on clean energy policy, technologies, and finance. Before joining CP, he was an editor/producer with He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.