by Clint Ouma
As the worldwide political focus on clean energy technology continues to grow, the wind energy industry has received heavy support from governmental bodies all over.
The European Union for one has chosen wind energy to be its frontrunner as it heads towards the 2020 sustainability targets .
The United States of America has also been surging forward with wind energy developments, issuing governmental policies, subsidies and other financial incentives such as tax cuts .
Several countries that have exhibited growth in the industry such as Germany and the UK have attributed their recent progress to dynamic policies such as the Feed in Tariff and Green Energy Certificate .
Nevertheless, one country has been able to upset the general trends in the wind power Industry. China, while still being considered a developing country , has accomplished a feat sought after by many developed nations.
China has exhibited one of the biggest growth trends in the development of wind energy projects by doubling its installed capacity from 25,810 MW in December 2009 to 52,800 MW in June 2011 . This boost has enabled China to grab the title of top wind energy producing country in the world.
How Has China Become A Leading Wind Energy Country?
China’s strategy to overtake the giants of renewable energies in the world was largely driven by the poor state of China’s environmental atmosphere.
With the help of policies set in place to support renewables, the Chinese people took it upon themselves to exploit the market.
As a result, two of the top three wind energy manufacturing companies in the world are Chinese; these are Sinovel and Xinjiang Goldwind respectively alongside the famous Danish Company Vestas .
China’s dynamic growth can be attributed to a few factors unique to the country when compared to other leading wind energy countries.
Unlike most of the top ten wind energy countries, China’s large population and extremely large manufacturing industry mean it needs a consistent energy supply. The boom can also be partially attributed to China’s urgent need to counter the pollution caused by the country’s coal powered electricity plants .
Besides support from the government and local banks, China’s manufacturing industry is supported by a large home market and low labour costs which is absent in smaller European countries.
The size of this nation in terms of both territory and population simply enables any significant growth to take place in massive proportions.
It is worth noting that China’s solar energy industry is also huge with seven Chinese manufacturing companies in the top ten solar companies internationally.
The growth of the Chinese market has also benefitted a lot of other countries that were looking to develop their wind energy industries.
The drop in wind turbine price to about one third of what the cost was in 2007 has been attributed to the competition posed by Chinese products.
Low labour costs and availability of raw materials as well as a market for the products have made turbines and blades available more cheaply .
List of top Ten Wind Energy Countries and Their Installed Capacity :
|1. China – 52,800 MW||6. Italy – 6,200 MW|
|2. USA – 42,432 MW||7. France – 6,060 MW|
|3. Germany – 27,981 MW||8. United Kingdom – 5,707 MW|
|4. Spain – 21,150 MW||9. Canada – 4,611 MW|
|5. India – 14,550 MW||10. Portugal – 3,960 MW|
|11. Rest of The World – 29,500 MW|
 Lords European Union Committee 27th Report of Session 2007 – 2008: The EU’s Target for Renewable Energy: 20% by 2020 Potential Energy Mix; Volume 1 Report – Page 20. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeucom/175/175.pdf
 Using Financial Incentives To Encourage Wind Power Project Development by Sasha Kemmet WISE Intern Iowa State University – The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE, August 2006: http://www.wise-intern.org/journal/2006/Kemmet-IEEE.pdf
 EWEA – EU Will Exceed Renewable Energy Goal of 20% By 2020: http://www.ewea.org/index.php?id=60&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1892&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=1&cHash=05ee83819
 International Trade Centre – Trade Map, List of Developing Countries 2007 – 2011: http://www.trademap.org/stDevelopingCountries.aspx
 Clean Technica – Wind Power Growth Rebounds 15% in H1 2011, Capacity Rises ~ 23% (June 2011): http://cleantechnica.com/2011/09/05/wind-power-growth-rebounds-15-in-h1-2011-capacity-rises-23/
 Financial Times – China’s Rush Into Renewables: The Way The World Turns (28 November 2011): http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0502a28a-15c9-11e1-a691-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1nmZeqJQF