International technology transfer is a key element in efforts to ensure low carbon growth in developing countries. A growing body of literature has sought to assess the extent of technology transfer in the clean development mechanism (CDM). In this paper we use the case of wind power CDM to expand the focus to how technology transfer occurs. We seek insights from the technology and CDM literatures to develop a framework with multiple technology transfer mechanisms. We then show empirically that technology transfer in CDM wind projects occurs through a greater variety of mechanism than is commonly assumed. The evidence suggests that the strengthening of host country capabilities changes the nature of technology transfer. The cases of China and India indicate that diversity in transfer mechanisms is an effect of the pre-existing industrial and technological capabilities. We show that CDM projects in China and India tend to utilise transfer mechanisms opened up prior to and independent of CDM projects, not the other way around. Our findings suggest that research and policy should pay more careful attention to the relationship between international low carbon technology transfer mechanisms and local technological capabilities.