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China Set to Approve 27.9 GW of Wind Power Projects

China's National Energy Administration recently announced the inclusion of 491 wind power projects with a combined installed capacity of 27.9 GW into its approval plan for the 12th five-year period spanning from 2011 to 2015.

The approved projects include sixteen located in Sichuan province with a combined installed capacity of 780 MW, six of which are owned and managed by Huaneng Renewables Corporation, four by China Huadian Corporation Sichuan, two by Sichuan Energy Industry Investment Group and one each by Sichuan Branch Company of China Datang Corporation, DeChang Canyon Wind Farm, Tianyou New Energy and Guodian Daduhe New Energy Investment.

According to data released by Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Energy, combined installed capacities of wind power projects in the province totaled 20 MW as of the end of 2012, accounting for a mere 0.037 percent of the province’s total installed power capacity. Currently, wind power resources available for development in Sichuan are estimated between 4 GW and 5 GW.

Looking ahead, Sichuan’s provincial government plans to focus on the development of renewable energy with an emphasis on wind. Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Energy director Lei Kaiping revealed that seven wind power plants in the province, slated to be completed and connected to the grid this year, and are expected to add some 320 MW of installed capacity – a twentyfold year-on-year increase. The seven projects are located in A Yue Xiang, Dechang County, Lijiaba, Tekoujiagu, Luoer, Huidonglama, Lunan and Fangdiping, respectively. 

China’s installed wind power capacity is expected to reach 100 GW by 2015, by which time distributed wind power will account for 30 percent of the country’s total wind power generation. With the improvements in grid infrastructure, including the addition of high-voltage transmission lines, grid connection of wind power plants will further grow. Wind power manufacturers, however, will face greater challenges as competition grows fierce with the increasing maturity of the wind-manufacturing sector.

On the other hand, industry maturity has helped enhance the competitive edge of wind energy over that of traditional energy providers. Wind is coming into its own with stronger power technology and will become increasingly important in China’s energy structure. According to available information, wind has overtaken nuclear to become the third largest energy source in its energy structure.

According to the 12th five-year plan on renewable energy published by the National Energy Administration, China’s installed capacities of offshore wind power plants are projected to reach 5 GW by 2015. With the expected roll-out of a series of new policies by the central government to boost development, China’s wind energy industry is on track to have a promising future. 

Lead image: Wind turbine via Shutterstock

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