China installed 52 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity last year, breaking the world record for most wind capacity installed in a single year by any country in history as it doubled its annual installations compared to 2019, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said in a new report this week.
China, and to a lesser extent the United States, was the main growth driver of record global wind capacity additions in 2020, as the phase-out of China’s onshore wind Feed-in-Tariff scheme as of 2021 and the anticipated expiration of U.S. federal tax incentives played a major role in the soaring installations of wind capacity additions last year.
China accounted for 93.59 percent of all new wind installations in the Asia Pacific region in 2020. India and Australia were distant second and third in terms of wind power installations with around 1.1 GW each. Almost 56 GW of new wind power capacity was installed in the Asia Pacific region last year, up by 78 percent year over year, and predominantly due to the Chinese boom of wind power installations, according to GWEC data.
Second-placed India, on the other hand, saw in 2020 the lowest year for new wind installations since 2004 due to regulatory and infrastructure bottlenecks, GWEC said.
“The incredible and rapid growth of wind power in the region has been led by China, which now has more wind power capacity than Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America combined. We were expecting an installation rush in China last year due to the phase out of the onshore wind Feed-in-Tariff by the end of 2020, but the Chinese wind market exceeded our original forecasts by over 73 per cent,” said Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy at GWEC.
If China is to meet its net-zero target by 2060, it will need to install more than 50 GW of wind power capacity every year through 2025 and 60 GW annually from 2026 onwards, according to GWEC.
“Although installation levels were on track with these targets in 2020, China now must ensure that this level of growth can be sustained in a subsidy-free era,” Zhao said.