China installed 30.5GW of wind in 2015 — preliminary CWEA data, By Brian Publicover, Recharge News,, January 18 2016
The Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA) has released preliminary data indicating that China installed 30.5GW of wind capacity in 2015 — up 31.5% from the 23.2GW added a year earlier — but an analyst said that the final total could be lower.
"It seems to me that it’s overly high,” Shane Sun, head of APAC at MAKE, told Recharge. “It’s definitely above what it should be. I estimate 25GW, 26GW potentially. Anything more than that, I think it would be a stretch.”
CWEA did not include specific installation numbers provided by 26 undisclosed turbine manufacturers when it released the tentative full-year total, which does not indicate how much capacity was actually connected to the grid.
However, Feng Zhao — a senior director at FTI Consulting in Copenhagen — wrote in a recent research note that the CWEA did place the nation’s top OEMs in broad categories.
CWEA said that Goldwind had installed more than 7GW, while Envision Energy, Ming Yang and United Power fell within the 2.2GW-3.5GW range.
The tentative figures — which did not include offshore data — suggest that China’s cumulative installed wind capacity now stands at roughly 145GW.
“Those preliminary figures are stunning,” Zhao said.
On 1 January, the government reduced its feed-in tariff (FIT) rates for three parts of the country with the highest average wind speeds by 0.02 yuan/kWh. The FIT for projects in regions with low wind speeds was reduced by just 0.01 yuan/kWh.
Installations likely spiked toward the end of 2015, as developers rushed to qualify for the subsidies prior to the FIT reductions.
“Industry analysts expected the wind turbine installations in China to grow in 2015, driven by the rush to capitalise on (the) higher FIT, (but) none of them can believe that China can pass the milestone of 30GW in one year,” Zhao said.
MAKE’s Sun said it is difficult to comment on the accuracy of the preliminary figure, as the installation numbers that turbine OEMs submit to the CWEA each year are often filled with discrepancies.
“Many of them would want to include as many projects as possible, so their clients can do the necessary paperwork to get the old higher FITs,” he said. “It’s possible that a majority of under-construction projects or even pipeline projects could be included in this installation data.”
MAKE plans to publish a subscription-only research note on the CWEA figures within the week.