Hydropower, Project Development, Wind Power

China’s Wind Power Forecast at 230 GW by 2020

With an annual output of 464.9 TWh, Chinese wind farms would replace 200 coal fired plants, according to the joint report by Greenpeace, the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Over 2009 China’s 13.8 GW in new capacity led the world, working out at a new turbine every hour. The country’s total capacity of 25.8 GW is now the world’s second highest.

“China’s speed of wind power development is remarkable,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.

“In 2005, only one Chinese company was among the top 15 manufacturers in the world. Today, there are five.”

The report quantifies the potential contribution of China’s wind capacity by 2020 as equivalent to 13 times that of the country’s colossal Three Gorges Dam hydropower plant.

But the report’s sponsors also highlight challenges for China’s wind sector such as its companies’ relative lack of R&D compared with multinationals. Although grid companies are obliged to buy the output from wind farms, they are also hindered by creaking infrastructure.

Greenpeace calls for new incentives for authorities, grid companies, power companies and manufacturers – as well as penalties to stimulate an overhaul of China’s outdated grid.

“The advantages of wind have never been more apparent – reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced pollution, sustainable development, poverty alleviation in historically rural regions, etc.” said Yang Ailun, head of Greenpeace’s Climate and Energy Team.

“China is at a crossroads. It can choose between the dirty, dangerous world of coal and fossil fuels, or the new, clean future promised by wind. The answer is obvious.”