The Asian Development Bank (ABD) has approved a US$58 million loan to develop wind energy in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
MANILA, Philippines – The Wind Power Development Project will construct three wind farms with a total generating capacity of 78 megawatts. The facilities will include a 30 MW of turbines at Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, 24 MW at Fujin in Heilongjang Province, and 24 MW at Xiwaizi in Liaoning Province. The wind farms will be connected to the utility grid, and the projects will build institutional capacity and remove policy and institutional impediments in promoting wind power. “Wind farms will produce electricity without releasing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants into the air,” says ADB project officer Edu Hassing. “Wind farms are expected to become increasingly viable alternatives for conventional power generation in areas with sufficient wind speeds.” This funding is the first ADB-financed environment project in the PRC, and will be co-financed with a $6 million loan from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the funding agency in Washington that supports projects with global environmental benefits. The total project cost is $98 million, and the ADB loan involves a repayment period of 20 years. The Chinese government is promoting wind energy to reduce reliance on coal consumption and the resulting pollution. The PRC estimates that losses caused by pollution are between 3.5 and 8.3 percent of GDP, much of which is due to the country’s use of coal to generate electricity. The PRC has nine of the ten worst cities in Asia for air pollution and half of the world’s ten most contaminated cities. Premature deaths related to air pollution are estimated at 150,000 each year in urban areas. Development of wind-generated power is not conducted in a systematic and coordinated manner in the country. Support is needed to develop an indigenous wind turbine industry with lower manufacturing costs, and the government’s Partnership for Renewable Energy Development will promote the increased use of renewable energy when it becomes operational next year. This initiative is designed to meet the government’s goal of generating 5 percent of its power from renewables. The wind project represents a bottom-up approach at provincial level within the framework of national policies and targets, explain officials of the ADB. GEF support will develop mechanisms for implementation of appropriate policies, including removal of barriers and strengthening of institutional components.