China will invest more than 700 billion yuan (approx. US$100 billion) in wind power facilities from 2016 to 2020, according to the National Energy Administration of China’s latest wind power development plan.
Directives call for an accumulated on-grid installation capacity of wind power facilities to reach 210 million kW by the end of 2020. The country aims to increase its on-grid installation capacity of offshore wind power facilities to more than 5 million kW. It also aims to ensure its annual wind power generation volume reaches 420 billion kWh, accounting for 6 percent of the country’s total power generation volume.
Based on the expected power generation volume of wind power facilities by 2020, the country anticipates a savings of 150 million tons of standard coal and a reduction in emissions of 380 million tons of carbon dioxide, 1.30 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 1.10 million tons of nitrogen oxide annually. The country’s wind power sector is expected to create about 300,000 new jobs during the period, raising the number of people employed in the sector to 800,000 by 2020.
However, China is faced with three major challenges in growing its wind power sector:
- The existing power operation and management system can’t meet all requirements of large-scale on-grid wind power generation.
- Economic efficiency remains the main restraint on the sector’s development. Power generation costs associated with wind power projects are higher than those using traditional fossil energies to generate power.
- Policies and the market environment to support the development of the wind power sector still need to be further optimized.
In a move to address new situations and challenges, the plan outlined a series of priorities for the five-year plan period:
- Increase efficiency by better matching supply and demand. Restructure the distribution network so that wind power is made available in regions where supply does not meet demand, through better optimization of the grid when new sections of the grid are built. Improve the ability to regulate and adjust peak loads and optimize inter-provincial and interregional supply networks.
- Improve wind power development and utilization capabilities in the country’s eastern and southern regions.
- Drive independent innovations in technologies and in the establishment of utility-grade systems. Establish world-class wind power technology R&D and equipment manufacturing facilities through promotion and support of independent innovative efforts, enhance the establishment of utility-grade service systems, drive industry-grade technological advancements and improve the overall quality of wind power development.
The country’s wind power sector plans to focus on improving its management system, promoting competition to weed out the weakest players, enhancing international cooperation and taking advantage of support from the financial sector.