China increased its goal for wind power generation capacity by the year 2020 to as much as 100,000 megawatts, from the 30,000 megawatts that the Chinese government set 18 months ago, newspaper China Daily reported on Monday.

The total wind power generating capacity in China is currently 12,000 MW but the country which is growing at the fastest rate among all the economies in the world, wants to raise it to 20,000 MW by next year, the paper said. China expects to have an annual wind power growth rate of 20 percent, according to Fang Junshi ,head of the coal department of the National Energy Administration. He spoke at a Coaltrans conference in Beijing, according to the paper.

China - the fourth largest producer of wind energy in the world, after the United States, Germany and Spain - is also aiming to have 40 percent of all its energy originate from renewable energy sources by 2050.

China is powering ahead with no visible signs of slowing down, said Steve Sawyer of the Global Wind Energy Council, according to the newspaper. If anything it is accelerating. They intend to become the largest market in the world, very clearly, and they probably will unless things take off in the US again in the relatively near term.

China will become the biggest growth market for wind power generating capacity this year, ahead of the United States, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says, according to the report.

Last year, the United States was the largest wind growth market in terms of what was added and total MW installed, said Christine Real de Azua, assistant Director of Communications of the American Wind Energy Association in a phone call from the Windpower 2009 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois today.

Real de Azua said the the AWEA was not ready to make a growth prediction for the U.S. in 2009 and beyond because it depends on the energy policies that will be implemented.

But she added that key points to determine future growth are how quickly and strongly a renewable energy standard is established. The standard will determine the amount of energy that a utility is required to buy from an alternative energy source.

During the first quarter of 2009, the U.S. wind energy industry installed 2,836 megawatts of new generating capacity, the AWEA reported on April.

The U.S. plans to produce 20 percent of the country's electricity use from wind by the year 2030. This amount would require about 300,000 MW of wind power generation, according to a scenario of the Department of Energy detailed on the website