BEIJING (AFP) – China is set to become the world's third largest wind power producer in 2009, state media reported, as the Asian giant seeks various ways to expand energy supply to power its economic boom.

The country's installed wind power capacity will reach 20 gigawatts this year, said Shi Lishan, vice director of the National Energy Administration's New Energy Department, the Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.

That will lift China to surpass Spain and become the world's third biggest wind power producer after the United States and Germany, the report said.

The United States had 25.2 gigawatts in installed capacity of wind power in 2008, or 20.8 percent of the world's total, compared with China's capacity of 12.2 gigawatts, figures from the Global Wind Energy Council showed.

At the end of last year, Spain had 16.8 gigawatts of installed wind power, the council said.

China, which relies on coal for more than 70 percent of its energy, is the world's largest emitter of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

But it has set a target of generating 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources -- mainly wind and water -- by 2020.

The country was criticised for obstructing the adoption of a treaty on climate change during an international summit in Copenhagen earlier this month.

However, in a move signalling its commitment to cutting emissions, the nation last week adopted a law supporting the renewable energy industry by obliging electricity grid firms to buy all the power produced from renewable sources.