We will surpass the US in installed capacity - says Chinese official

CHINA: The US will be surpassed by China in terms of wind energy capacity by the end of the year, according to a senior executive at latter's National Energy Bureau (NEB).

NEB deputy director Wu Yin made the comments at the '2010 China Energy Company Senior Executive Seminar'. It is the first time a Chinese official has publicly stated China will have the world's largest installed wind power capacity.

By the end of the year, the NEB said China is set to have 35GW in installed wind power. According to Windpower Monthly's Windicator, the US's current capacity stands at 36GW.

However, Wu said China's capacity at the end of 2010 may be higher than the NEB had estimated, although he was unable to give a forecast of what could it could be.

Wu's comments were backed up last month by Global Wind Energy Council secretary general Steve Sawyer who said China could surpass the US in installed capacity by end-2011.

At the time, the Chinese government did not comment on Sawyer's view.

In the past four years, newly installed wind power in China has increased by 100% year-on-year. By 2020, it is estimated China's installed capacity could reach 230GW, accounting for around 15% of the country's electricity capacity.

Wu's comments came as China completed the construction of the first stage of its 10GW Jinquan wind project, in the north-western Gansu province. The NEB said it was three months ahead of schedule.

The first stage project, totaling 5.16GW, comprises more than 3,500 wind turbines along the western part of the 200km Hexi Corridor. 1.1GW of these have been integrated into the grid.