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Since 2005 the global capacity of installed wind power has quadrupled, due to a variety of factors such as improved technology, large scale investment, and incentive programs designed to encourage industry growth.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, in 2011 the global installed capacity increased by 21 percent on the previous year, with China alone accounting for 43 percent of total installations, the US for 17 percent, India seven percent, and Germany five percent.
Whilst installing by far the largest capacity of wind power, China is having difficulty using all of that capacity. Due to an old, in-efficient energy transport grid, much of the electricity produced cannot be used.
Mark Konold, the Worldwatch Climate and Energy Program Manager said that “because of grid connection challenges and other issues, China is struggling to use all of the electricity generated by its turbines.”
Several Chinese provinces, such as Inner Mongolia and Gansu, have lost large portions of their generation capacity due to technical problems with the energy transport infrastructure. China has already started making improvements to its energy infrastructure, and has plans to invest more than $400 billion in order to connect all of its installed wind capacity to the grid by 2015.
The costs of wind power have fallen dramatically in recent years which has helped lead to its current popularity. Constantly improving technologies entering the market are expected to reduce the costs of wind energy by a further 12 percent by 2016, at which time it will be competitive with other popular energy sources such as coal, gas, and nuclear power.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com