Type to search

China adds record wind power capacity as subsidies phased out

(ATF) China installed more than 50 gigawatts (GW) of wind power in 2020,  a new report said, cementing its place as a world leader in renewable energy despite falling government subsidies.

The nation added 52GW of new generation last year – double the amount in 2019 and about 70% of the global total – according to data released on March 18 by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), an international trade lobby group.

With 2020 being the last year for wind power companies to qualify for certain subsidies, a surge was expected. However, the GWEC said the country exceeded forecasts by 70%.

Last month, the GWEC said China had installed 3GW of offshore wind power capacity alone in 2020, half of the Asia-Pacific total.

“China led the world in new annual offshore wind capacity for the third year in a row,” the council said.


Despite the lack of significant subsidies, Chinese government pressure to install wind power would keep new capacity levels high, the Council said. China has prioritised non-fossil-fuel energy in its latest Five-Year Plan.

In December 2020, the Central Economic Work Conference – which sets out national economic planning ahead of the National People’s Congress session in March – listed the peaking of emissions as one of its key tasks for 2021.

In February, the National Energy Administration sought comments from provinces and investors regarding development and construction of wind and solar power generation projects in 2021. 

However, renewable energy has a long way to go in the expansion of China’s green economy, Nathan Chow, an economist and strategist at DBS in Singapore, said.

“In 2019, the use of low-carbon energy such as hydropower and wind power only accounted for about 15% of the total energy consumption in China,” Chow said.

China needs to install more than 50GW of wind power capacity per year from 2021 until 2025 and 60GW from 2026 onwards to reach its net-zero emissions goal by 2060.

The Global Green Energy Transport and Technology Leaders Index created by Asia Times Financial in collaboration with ALLINDEX, is a benchmark that tracks shares of leaders in electric vehicle and renewable energy production and storage businesses.


The country’s goal to become carbon neutral in 2060 will require $6.4 trillion of investment in new power generating capacity, global energy and resources consultants Wood Mackenzie said in a report also released on March 18.

“China’s dependence on hydrocarbons proves a hard habit to break, but the pursuit of carbon neutrality makes it possible,” analysts Huang Miaoru and Zhou Yanting said.

About 71.3GW of wind power capacity was installed in 2020 despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the GWEC.

From 2020 to 2024, the cumulative global wind energy market will grow at a compound annual rate of 8.5% and aims to install 348GW of new capacity, bringing total global wind-power capacity to nearly 1,000 GW by the end of 2024.

The GWEC said more than half of the onshore wind capacity added between 2020 to 2024 will be installed in China and the US, led by installation rushes to meet subsidy deadlines.


Beijing trips on its misguided energy build-out policy

China power shortage sparks debate over ban on Australian coal imports

Renewables fund targeting green power in US, Japan and Taiwan 

Korea launches $43 billion project to build world’s biggest wind farm

George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


AF China Bond