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China built nearly half of the world’s wind capacity in 2016

The world’s largest wind market also accounted for a 35% market share of the sector globally with a cumulative capacity standing at 169GW.

The world added more than 54GW of wind capacity over the last year, bringing the total installed to nearly 487GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

China, the world’s largest renewable energy market, installed 23.3GW in 2016, accounting for a 44 percent share of the capacity installed globally last year. Although the figure was less than the record 30GW installed in 2015 – a blip attributed to impending feed-in tariff reductions – it boosted the country’s total wind capacity to 168.7GW. 

China’s offshore market, in particular, took off in 2016, climbing to third place in global offshore rankings, behind the UK and Germany. 

Another fast-growing Asian renewables market was India, now the world’s fourth-largest one with a new national record of 3.6GW of new installation last year and a cumulative capacity of 28.7GW. The council also expects offshore capacity to contribute to the country’s green energy buildup in the coming years. 

Turning to the Americas, the council said US installations were nearly equal to the 2015 total of 8.2GW, with more than 18GW in development or construction. The US total stood at over 82GW. Brazil led the Latin American market, achieving over 10GW of cumulative installations in 2016 despite the country’s political and economic woes. 

Europe had a surprisingly strong year, said the council. The EU-28 contributed 12.5GW, out of 3.9GW for the continent as a whole. Germany installed 5.4GW, boosting its total to more than 50GW. France added more than 1GW, while Turkey built 1.4GW. The Netherlands entered the global top 10 in terms of fresh annual capacity for the first time, with 887MW, most of which was offshore. 

Africa was quiet, with only 418MW installed in South Africa, as were the Antipodeans, with only Australia adding 140MW of wind capacity. 

“The cost of wind power continues to plummet, and this is particularly the case for the European offshore sector, which has met and exceeded its 2020 price targets by a substantial margin, and five years early,” commented Steve Sawyer, the council’s secretary general. “Wind power continues to grow in double digits, but we can’t expect the industry to set a new record every single year.”