Mixed Greens: China king of wind energy in 2012

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China tops 2012 global wind installations; Coalition formalises attack on CEFC; gain for Australian CleanTech Index; Australia tipped as renewables growth market.

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China continues to assert its dominance in the global renewable energy stakes, once again claiming the mantle of greatest installed capacity for wind energy for 2012. According to new figures compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the country installed 15.9GW of onshore turbines, or more than one-third of all new capacity worldwide. This is the fourth successive year China has led the field, after stealing the crown fro the the US in 2009. The US, with record installations of 13.2GW last year, installed 14 per cent fewer turbines than China.

As we wrote last week, wind energy is now China’s third-largest energy source, coming in ahead of nuclear, and behind coal and hydropower. As BNEF reports, China now has 61GW of cumulative grid-connected wind energy capacity – 5.3 per cent of the country’s total nameplate – and generates 2 per cent of its total electricity. And all this despite an 18 per cent decline in annual installations. Needless to say, China’s leading wind turbine suppliers in 2012 were all homegrown: Goldwind, Guodian United Power and Sinovel. The top three developers of wind projects were also large domestic companies: Longyuan Power Group, Huaneng Renewable and Datang Renewable (800MW).

In other news…

As we predicted last week, in our assessment of Tony Abbott’s 2013 kick-starter, and in our review of the week, the Coalition is moving to try and throttle the Clean Energy Finance Corp even before it has the chance to begin deployment of its $10 billion budget. The Coalition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt and finance spokesman Andrew Robb have written to the CEFC, asking it to not make any investments, and promising to revoke any commitments that are made. It insists that the caretaker period starts now, while the government says it does not start until the writs are issued on August 12. The Greens have criticised the Coalition for entering into dangerous politics that will undermine future job security.

It’s not been a bad start to 2013 for the ACT Australian CleanTech Index, which rose in January –  31.9 to 32.9 over the month, a 3.1% gain – but still underperformed both the S&P ASX200 Index and the S&P Small Ordinaries Index. The Australian CleanTech 20 recorded the same performance as the wider index for the month. The month’s performance was driven by 10 companies with gains of more than 20 per cent – the greatest gains (of more than 50 per cent each) were recorded by Cardia BioPlastics, Eden Energy and Panax Geothermal.

And some good news for the local renewable energy sector, with the PwC’s Power & Renewables Deals 2013 Outlook and 2012 Review listing Australia (alongside Europe and South America) as one of the most attractive targets for global power companies seeking growth. The report predicts an increased focus on Australia as M&A activity continues to shift away from Europe and North America towards the Asia Pacific region. According to PwC Australia’s Energy, Utilities and Mining leader Jock O’Callaghan, some of the impetus for this shift will come from the need for local players to meet the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) of 41,000Gwh from 2020. While there will also be increasing interest from Chinese and Japanese companies with mandates to continue overseas expansion strategies.

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