Top Wind Energy Countries

Wind Power
By Clint Ouma

As the focus on clean energy continues to grow, the wind energy industry has received heavy support from governmental bodies all over.

Below we'll look at the top countries harnessing wind energy today.

One country stands out above the rest, China. While still being considered a developing country [4], China has accomplished a feat sought after by many developed nations.

wind energy china
Wind Turbines cover the horizon along a highway in Xinjiang, China

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 [5]. This boost has enabled China to take the title of top wind energy producing country in the world.

Likewise, the European Union has chosen wind energy to be its frontrunner as it heads towards its sustainability targets [1].

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 [3].

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 [2].




How Has China Become A Leading Wind Energy Country?

china pollution from manufacturing
China's wind energy industry growth has been driven partially by an enormous population and urgent pollution problems.

China’s progress with renewable energy was largely driven by the poor state of China’s environment.

With the help of policies to support renewables, China has has become a production giant.

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 [6].

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 [6].

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.

In Beijing, 8% of the energy is produced by non-fossil fuel methods – including solar and hydroelectric – with a target of 15% by 2020 [6].

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 [6].
List of top Ten Wind Energy Countries and Their Installed Capacity [5]:

1. China – 52,800 MW6. Italy – 6,200 MW
2. USA – 42,432 MW7. France – 6,060 MW
3. Germany – 27,981 MW8. United Kingdom – 5,707 MW
4. Spain – 21,150 MW9. Canada – 4,611 MW
5. India – 14,550 MW10. Portugal – 3,960 MW
 11. Rest of The World – 29,500 MW
 




Article References

[1] 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

[2] 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

[3] 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

[4] International Trade Centre – Trade Map, List of Developing Countries 2007 – 2011: http://www.trademap.org/stDevelopingCountries.aspx

[5] 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/

[6] 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

First published March 20, 2012
Last updated February 4, 2021

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