The global offshore wind market will thrive throughout this decade, with its capacity rising from 5.5 GW last year to 51.2 GW in 2020, according to a new report.

The analysis from research firm GlobalData states that the UK will lead the way in new installations, yet it adds that by 2020 China will be the largest wind power market, as it attempts to reduce its carbon footprint while increasing electricity production in rural areas.

According to the report, China has doubled its cumulative wind capacity every year between 2006 and 2011, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 76 per cent from 2006 to 2012.

GlobalData says that China, along with the US, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and India, accounted for 74 per cent of global installed wind capacity last year.

The report says that the success of the Chinese wind power sector can be attributed to a combination of market guidance and government encouragement, after the Chinese government introduced a number of financial and regulatory initiatives to promote renewable energy sources.

GlobalData’s power sector analyst, Swati Singh, said: “Supportive government policies that include an attractive concessional programme and the availability of low-cost financing from government banks are the main reasons for the growing wind power market in China.”

However, Singh added that “the growth rate will slow down in the forecast period due to insufficient infrastructure, low quality wind turbines, and questionable pricing policies”.