China’s wind power can reach 230 GW of installed capacity by 2020,
and its annual electricity output of 464.9 TWh could replace 200 coal fire
power plants, according to China Wind Power Outlook 2010, a new report jointly
released by Greenpeace, the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association
(CREIA), and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
In 2009, China led the world in newly installed wind-energy
devices, reaching a capacity of 13.8 GW (10,129 turbines) – a rate
of one new turbine every hour. In terms of overall capacity, China ranks
at 25.8 GW.
“The rapid wind power growth in China was propelled by both the
growing need for energy and the government’s eagerness to develop
low-carbon technology,” said Li Junfeng, secretary general of CREIA.
“China’s speed of wind power development is remarkable,” commented
Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC. “In 2005, only one
Chinese company was among the top 15 manufacturers in the world.
Today, there are five.”
The report projects that by 2020, China’s total wind power
capacity will reach at least 150GW, possibly up to 230GW, which,
if realised, could cut 410 million tons of CO2 emission, or 150 million
tons of coal consumption. “This positive projection of 230
GW of wind energy equals 13 times the capacity of the Three Gorges
Dam, with the ability to replace power generated from 200 coal fire
power plants. However, it is only achievable with the implementation
of effective incentive policies and a thorough overhaul of the national
grid,” said Yang Ailun, head of the Climate and Energy Team
Compared to multinationals, many Chinese companies are young and
lack a strong basis for research and development. Despite a renewable
energy policy requiring grid companies to purchase all electricity
from wind farms, access to wind power for the grid is frequently
lagging behind an unstable, out-dated grid infrastructure. There
is also the problem of a lack of incentives and penalties for grid
companies, and slow progress in more wind energy technologies.
Greenpeace calls for the national government to implement a clear
and definitive long-term plan for wind power, including an ambitious
development target. Economic incentive policies should involve, and
coordinate, all stakeholders, including local governments, power
companies, grid companies, and domestic and foreign manufacturers.
Critically, the national grid needs a massive overhaul, while stable
pricing for wind power should be guaranteed in order to encourage
wind energy developers.
“The advantages of wind have never been more apparent – reduced
greenhouse gas emissions, reduced pollution, sustainable development,
poverty alleviation in historically rural regions, etc.” said
Yang. “China is at a crossroads. It can choose between the
dirty, dangerous world of coal and fossil fuels, or the new, clean
future promised by wind. The answer is obvious.”
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