Wednesday, June 18, 2008

China Gains Clout in Wind Power


Everything in China seems to be advancing at a quick clip, and that includes boosting their wind power capacity. China is already ranked 5th in wind power capacity, pulling over 6 GW, but they're set to grow even more in the very near future, to 10 GW within the next two years. Some experts estimate that at the rate China is going on increasing wind power, it could be that the country will reach 20 GW by 2010, and 100 GW by 2020. So, one of the world's largest emitters of CO2 could have a trick up its sleeve for reducing its carbon footprint.

Focusing on Inner Mongolia, which has the potential to provide 40% of the country's total wind capacity, China is already adding 960 MW worth of wind towers to the existing 170 MW, and has another 4 GW in the planning stage. Inner Mongolia accounts for 12% of China's total land mass and is sparsely populated, with an average of only about 52 people per square mile, making it ideal turf for wind towers with little argument potential from the locals, unlike many projects in the US. China isn't sticking to just land-based farms, either. According to a National Development and Reform Commission plan, Shanghai's wind power plans include sea-based wind farms, and by 2020 will have 1 GW of capacity, enough to provide power to 4 million residents.

I'm curious to see what turbine technology they're going to utilize. I'm also wondering if proper environmental impact research is going into the planning, or if it's just a slap dash race to get cost competitive power in place for a rapidly growing country, and dealing with any potential side effects will be an afterthought. After all, China doesn't exactly have a stellar record of environmental cleanliness. I'll be paying attention to this, and look forward to next month when Renewable Energy World is covering China's manufacturing capabilities for wind turbines, blades and other components of the wind power industry.

Via Tree Hugger, Renewable Energy World; Photo by Mooney47

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