The installation rush in China was largely expected, due to the phase-out of the onshore wind Feed-in-Tariff scheme by the end of 2020. However, this level of growth goes above and beyond even the most optimistic forecasts. A rapid bounce-back from the initial impacts of COVID-19 allowed installations to proceed last year. China is the only major economy to reflect economic growth during the pandemic: Official figures report 2.3% GDP growth in 2020 and domestic electricity demand exceeded 2019 figures from April 2020 onward. 

Qin Haiyan, Secretary General at CWEA, added: “Although the COVID-19 pandemic impacted China’s wind industry early on in 2020, the Chinese government took prompt and strong measures to effectively contain the virus. This allowed the sector to resume ‘business as usual’ manufacturing and installation activities as early as March 2020, which was crucial for the sector to complete projects with the looming subsidy deadline. In order to help smooth the way forward and play their part in helping to achieve China’s net zero target, grid companies also took various measures to overcome bottlenecks and connect as many projects as possible before the end of 2020”.

These figures cement China’s position as a juggernaut in the wind industry, and with its offshore wind Feed-in Tariff due to expire by the end of 2021, we are set for another strong gust of growth in the Chinese offshore wind sector this year. According to the Beijing Declaration, signed by over 400 wind power companies at the end of 2020, China needs to install more than 50 GW of new wind power capacity annually from 2021-2025, and more than 60 GW annually from 2026 onwards, in order to reach its carbon neutrality target by 2060. China’s surge of wind power capacity in 2020, even in the face of a global pandemic, clearly shows that this level of wind power deployment is possible.