China Wind Energy

Wind Capacity Quadruples While GDP Shrinks

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted March 19, 2009

China's wind energy market is still doubling even though the country's GDP growth is being halved.

That's because Beijing officials are using the global slowdown as a chance to recast the Chinese export market. It will be cleaner and higher up the value chain.

The World Bank just lowered its 2009 economic growth prediction for China to 6.5%— a dizzying drop from rates that nudged upwards of 12% in recent boom years.

But China's wind power capacity is still set for nearly 400% growth by 2013...

From a total capacity of 24 GW in 2008, turbines across China will churn out 117 GW in the next half-decade. That's a huge chunk of the worldwide tripling in wind energy capacity that the Global Wind Energy Council foresees.

Weak global consumer demand, especially in the U.S., has hit China's manufacturing base hard. But shuttered factories actually present Chinese energy planners and business leaders with an opportunity to strengthen wind energy's role across the economy.

Wind energy investment is not just a politically expedient jobs machine. We know that because wind capacity has been doubling even in years when the rest of the Chinese manufacturing economy was at its most robust.

Coal-fired power plants give China's electricity customers 80% of their juice, and the development of a Green GDP since 2005 tells us the costs of that soot actually knock a few percentage points off China's GDP growth totals. 

China can afford to lose 3% of its 6.5% growth even less now than it could when it enjoyed double-digit yearly economic expansion.

China has to grow smart.


Wind Power: China's Top Post-Recession Export?

The GWEC says Beijing's government-led investment has created 100% capacity growth in each of the past four years.

Of course, we can't expect exponential growth to continue forever— even from an economy as dynamic as China's.

What we can expect, though, is the Middle Kingdom's half-trillion dollar stimulus package to go into smart growth that creates jobs. Wind energy fits the bill perfectly.

Moreover, the low-cost items that poured from Guangdong factories into big-box U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart and target will yield more and more to durable goods like wind turbines.

A combination of "soft diplomacy" and capitalist price competition could put Chinese wind turbines in an increasing number of African, Asian, South American, and other developing nations where China has made its mark in padding margins for plastic and textile companies.

Chinese officials say that a full 25% of the country's emissions come from export-oriented industries. What if China's exports turned the corner towards creating products that actually reduced net emissions at home and provided new clean energy sources for customers abroad?

We're in a worldwide lull that could last awhile. But it won't last forever. Now is the time for the few countries with massive cash reserves to use it in ways that will make recovery come more quickly and vigorously.

Clean energy exports from China will add to domestic capacity and make China the world's #1 wind energy producer by 2020, changing the shape of Chinese economic growth for good.


Sam Hopkins

P.S. - Green Chip International readers have access to a network of Chinese stocks with global reach. They're active in the local market, of course, but their range is as wide-ranging as their vision. Along with wind, we have cleantech, solar, and even grid connection players that put it all together with household and business customers. It's not just the government making moves... We've sifted through dozens of public companies to find the ones that will win out and spearhead China's push toward smart growth. You can read the full report we've prepared about China's clean energy imperative right here: