China to assess its wind and solar
June 20, 2006 - SciDev.net
[BEIJING] China has opened a new centre to assess
its potential to generate wind and solar energy.
The Centre for Wind and Solar Energy Assessment,
part of the China Meteorology Administration, opened
last week (14 June).
It will assess how much energy can be generated
through wind and solar power in key Chinese regions,
generate estimates of the wind energy potential
at specific locations to help plan for wind power
plants, and evaluate the impact of natural disasters,
such as sand storms, on the operation of the wind
It will also carry out nationwide surveys of China's
solar energy potential.
In 2005, China generated 1.26 million kilowatts
in wind energy. Scientists estimate that this number
could be increased to 3.3 billion kilowatts for
land-based wind energy alone.
China's medium and long-term development plan for
sustainable energy released in 2004 predicts that
by 2020, wind power will supply 30 million kilowatts
Zhang Qiang, a senior researcher of the Centre
for Wind and Solar Energy Assessment, says that
China's current wind forecasts are not precise enough
to allow scientists to estimate how much wind energy
could be generated in various regions.
The new centre will seek to refine the geographical
aspect of wind forecasts. Currently, the smallest
area that forecasts can resolve is 100 square kilometres.
Zhang says that when it comes to deciding where
to place wind power plants, this resolution is not
good enough. The new centre will try to develop
and improve the resolution down to five square kilometres.