Global wind turbine commissioning jumps by record 59%: research

FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured during sunset at a wind park at Bihucourt near Bapaume, France, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

LONDON (Reuters) - The commissioning of new wind turbines globally surged by a record 59% to more than 96 gigawatts (GW) of capacity last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, research by BloombergNEF showed on Wednesday.

Developers commissioned 96.3 GW of wind turbines in 2020, compared with 60.7 GW the previous year, the majority of which were onshore installations.

Meanwhile, the commissioning of offshore wind turbines fell by 19% to 6.1 GW, the report said.

China commissioned 57.8 GW of new wind capacity last year, ahead of the expiration of a subsidy programme. The government’s feed-in tariff for wind power is set to end this year, which could trigger a drop in the commissioning rate.

“While every region commissioned more wind capacity than the year prior, the unprecedented growth observed in 2020 should be credited to the Chinese wind market,” said Isabelle Edwards, wind associate at BloombergNEF and lead author of the report.

“Nearly every turbine maker is now selling turbines into China, and in 2020 it was the second-largest market for both GE and Vestas,” she added.

General Electric Co and Goldwind were the top two turbine suppliers in 2020 after a jump in installations in the U.S. and China, the report said.

Vestas, which ranked top for the past four years, fell to third place in the 2020 rankings.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by David Goodman