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Potential for Wind-Generated Electricity in China

Sep 11, 2009 - Michael B. McElroy,1,*,** Xi Lu,2,* Chris P. Nielsen,3 Yuxuan Wang4 -
Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1378 - 1380 DOI: 10.1126/science.1175706


Wind offers an important alternative to coal as a source of energy for generation of electricity in China with the potential for substantial savings in carbon dioxide emissions. Wind fields derived from assimilated meteorological data are used to assess the potential for wind-generated electricity in China subject to the existing government-approved bidding process for new wind farms. Assuming a guaranteed price of 0.516 RMB (7.6 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour for delivery of electricity to the grid over an agreed initial average period of 10 years, it is concluded that wind could accommodate all of the demand for electricity projected for 2030, about twice current consumption. Electricity available at a concession price as low as 0.4 RMB per kilowatt-hour would be sufficient to displace 23% of electricity generated from coal.

1 School of Engineering and Applied Science and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

2 School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

3 Harvard China Project and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

4 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

** To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

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Updated: 2016/06/30

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