Wind farm in Inner Mongolia

The following is taken from the latest "China Wind Power Outlook 2012".

Wind power is globally recognized as an effective way to mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and support low-carbon industrial and economic growth. China, currently one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, has been the world leader in installed wind power capacity since 2010.

In 2011, China added 17.63 GW of newly installed wind power capacity, slightly lower than 2010 (18.93 GW). Total installed wind capacity reached 62.36 GW. After years of rapid growth, China’s wind power market is now entering a period marked by stable growth, but it is still the global leader in terms of total installed capacity.

Last year China’s wind energy sector generated 71.5 billion kilowatt hours, or 1.5% of the national total electricity output.

Looking at its environmental benefits, wind power has a clear advantage: every 1 kWh generated saves 320 g of standard coal being burned. That means in 2011 China’s wind power sector saved more than 22 million tons of coal from being burned, in total, reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 360,000 tons, and carbon dioxide emissions by about 70 million tons.

Assuming that the average Chinese household uses 1,500 kWh of electricity every year, China’s wind power sector met the electricity demands of over 47 million households in 2011.

Apart from the “old market” – namely the Northern, Northeastern and Northwestern areas of China (or the “Sanbei” region) that are rich in wind resources but weak on consumption power, wind power in China also saw the emergence of a new market with huge potential. The overwhelming majority of accumulated and added installment is now still focused on these regions. However, due to the long distance between the power stations and major power user markets, they continue to be plagued by grid connectivity and curtailment problems. In the meantime, a new wind power market located closer to power consumers in the central and eastern provinces has steadily become a vigorous, if not prominent, market in 2011.

This market expansion will continue into 2012. The key issues for the wind power sector in 2012 will be how to break the intrinsic restrictions on the traditional market and how to take the next step in promoting the emerging markets in eastern and central China.

Continue reading: "China Wind Power Outlook 2012".

Image © Simon Lim / Greenpeace