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China was the world’s largest wind market in 2012 in terms of annual installed capacity, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The country installed 15.9GW of onshore turbines, or more than one-third of all new capacity worldwide.

Wind energy has become China’s third-largest energy source, behind coal and hydropower. China now has 61GW of cumulative grid-connected wind energy capacity – 5.3% of the country’s total nameplate – and generates 2% of its total electricity. Wind’s new place in China’s power sector comes despite an 18% decline in annual installations, from 2011’s record of 19.3GW, as many projects were delayed due to grid connection issues, leaving many companies in the supply chain suffering from late payments and subsidies. During 2012, new financial investment in wind in China also fell 12% to US$ 27.2 billion, although the falling cost of wind energy means that the same dollar amount of investment committed during 2012 will finance 10% more megawatts than had it been committed during 2011. New financial investment is a powerful leading indicator of construction activity, since it leads the completion of onshore wind farms by up to two years. However, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data shows that 15GW – a full 20% of China’s wind capacity – remains unconnected to the grid. China’s wind turbine suppliers last year were all homegrown: Goldwind (2.8GW, 19% market share), Guodian United Power (1.9GW, 13%) and Sinovel (1.5GW, 10%). Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts 16.6GW of installations in China this year and 17-18GW in both 2014 and 2015.
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