“If everything goes well, within one generation wind power has the potential to become a prominent player in China’s energy portfolio,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of CREIA. “It will take on a key role in saving China from the current water crisis, air pollution issues and massive GHG emissions caused by a reliance on coal.”
The annual industry analysis predicts that China’s installed wind power capacity will be between 200 and 300 GW by 2020 and over 400 GW by 2030. And that by 2030, wind power will make up about 8.4% of China’s total electricity generation, and 15% of China’s installed capacity. It estimates that in 2011 China’s wind energy sector generated 71.5 billion kilowatt hours, equivalant to the annual electricity demand of over 47 million households. (1)
“There is every reason that China should support wind power: resources are abundant, production costs are lowering, and the technology is maturing, all of which make commercial development very promising,” said Li Yan who heads the climate and energy campaign of Greenpeace East Asia.
“After years of development in the country’s north, northeastern and northwestern areas, where wind resources are abundant but power consumption is relatively low, wind power now is also spreading in densely-populated areas,” Li Yan continued. “Eastern and southern China are accelerating their steps and a diversified development pattern is taking shape.”
According to the report, non-traditional markets such as Guangxi, Guizhou, Shaanxi, Henan, Tianjin, Yunnan and Anhui doubled capacity growth in 2011. Meanwhile, Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Fujian surpassed their 1 GW milestone.
Li Yan points out that the report attributes bad connectivity to the grid and curtailment as the major hurdles to the development of wind power in China in 2011 – at least 5 billion yuan, or half of the accumulated profits of the sector, were lost due to curtailment.
“An effective mechanism must be in place to clearly identify the grid’s responsibilities and effectively minimize curtailment of wind-generated electricity,” added Li Junfeng of CREIA.
“Globally speaking, Asia will become the world’s biggest wind power market, topping Europe and North America,” says Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council. “Apart from China being the world leader, other Asian countries such as India, Japan and South Korea will also see a booming wind power sector in the coming five years.”
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(1) This is based on assumption that the average Chinese household uses 1,500 kWh of electricity every year.