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China now the world leader in wind power production

Wind mills are seen at the Tazigou wind power station in Fuxin, Liaoning province in this file photo.

SHENG LI/REUTERS

China has become the world leader in wind power production after constructing nearly half of all the new turbines built around the globe in 2015.

According to statistics released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Wednesday, China installed 30,500 megawatts of new wind power last year, compared to the world total of 63,000 MW. China now has 145,100 MW of wind power, out of the global total of 432,400 MW.

Over all, there is now enough wind power installed around the world to generate electricity for about 100 million homes.

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China is by far the largest producer of wind power, and now has more wind capacity installed than the European Union, the traditional leader in the sector.

China's dramatic increase is partly due to its drive to cut smog and deal with climate change, the GWEC said.

McKinsey & Co. analyst Scott Nyquist said in a report last year that wind, in most markets, is now the cheapest renewable power supply, except for hydroelectric power. Since 2009, its cost has fallen 58 per cent because of less expensive materials and greater efficiency, he said. Because of that, wind is competitive with other forms of power production without the need for subsidies in a number of markets.

The GWEC figures show that Canada also added substantially to its capacity in 2015, and now has the seventh-largest wind power capacity of any country in the world, with 11,200 MW installed. About 1,500 MW was added to the Canadian grid in 2015. In the United States, there is now almost 75,000 MW of capacity, after an addition of almost 8,600 MW in 2015.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, 36 wind projects were completed in Canada in 2015, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Ontario has the most installed capacity, at about 4,360 MW. Quebec is in second place at 3,260 MW.

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About the Author
Reporter, Report on Business

Richard Blackwell has reported on Canadian business for more than three decades. At the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail he has covered technology, transportation, investing, banking, securities and media, among many other subjects. Currently, his focus is on green technology and the economy. More

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