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China installs third of new turbines in 2012

Wind energy accounts for 5.3 per cent of China’s generating capacity and supplies about 2 per cent of its electricity, placing it just behind coal and hydro power

New investment in wind was worth USD 27.2 billion in 2012

China installed more than a third of all new wind turbines in 2012 and is on course to beat the government’s 2015 target of 100 gigawatts of generation capacity by more than a year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) data.

While new installations slowed from 2011’s record levels, China’s 15.9GW of new wind capacity exceeded the 15.5GW of new hydro power and dwarfed the 1.2GW of solar and 700 megawatts of nuclear capacity added last year.

“This year however, project approvals have sped up and we forecast a modest recovery in both financing activity and construction in 2013,” Demi Zhu, China wind analyst at BNEF, said. “The fact that China wind overtook nuclear as a generation source even in its most challenging year of recent times is a testament to the massive scale and momentum of the industry in this country.”

According to preliminary BNEF research, some 11 per cent of China's total electricity generation by 2020 will come from non-hydro renewable sources, said Jun Ying, head of China research.

Last year, the country added 80GW of capacity – larger than Australia’s total - with coal-fired places accounting for about 60 per cent of that increase, BNEF said.

New investment in wind was worth USD 27.2 billion in 2012, down 12 per cent. Turbine costs fell 10 per cent as suppliers, mostly home-grown, cut prices.