At the end of 2010, wind power in the People's Republic of China
accounted for 41.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity, and China has identified wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....
as a key growth component of the country's economy. With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind resources. China aims to “have 100 gigawatts (GW) of on-grid wind power generating capacity by the end of 2015 and to generate 190 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of wind power annually”. Researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University , colloquially known in Chinese as Qinghua, is a university in Beijing, China. The school is one of the nine universities of the C9 League. It was established in 1911 under the name "Tsinghua Xuetang" or "Tsinghua College" and was renamed the "Tsinghua School" one year later...
have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030.
By the end of 2008, at least 15 Chinese companies were commercially producing wind turbines and several dozen more were producing components. Turbine sizes of 1.5 MW to 3 MW became common. Leading wind power companies in China were Goldwind, Dongfang Electric
China Dongfang Electric Corporation ; is one of the largest enterprises in China engaging in the manufacturing of power generators and the contracts of power station projects. It is a state-owned enterprise managed by the State Council of the People's Republic of China. It was founded in 1984 and...
, and Sinovel
Sinovel Wind Group Company is the largest turbine manufacturer in China and the third largest in the world.The company aims to be the largest turbine maker by 2015 with half of sales for foreign markets....
along with most major foreign wind turbine manufacturers. China also increased production of small-scale wind turbines to about 80,000 turbines (80 MW) in 2008. Through all these developments, the Chinese wind industry appeared unaffected by the global financial crisis, according to industry observers.
In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW at the end of 2010. According to the Global Wind Energy Council
The Global Wind Energy Council was established in 2005 to provide a credible and representative forum for the entire wind energy sector at an international level...
, the development of wind energy in China, in terms of scale and rhythm, is absolutely unparalleled in the world. The National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...
permanent committee passed a law that requires the Chinese energy companies to purchase all the electricity produced by the renewable energy sector.
As part of the environmental goals included in China’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011 – 2015) targets have been set for non-fossil energy to account for 11.4% of the total energy consumption, and for CO2 discharge per unit of GDP to reduce by 17%.
Wind power in the PRC
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| Capacity (MW)
| Production (GW·h)
The primary domestic wind turbine manufacturer in China is Goldwind (金风科技股份有限公司) from Xinjiang province. Established in 1998, Goldwind has been aggressively developing new technology and expanding its market share, accounting for 35% in 2006.
Of the total of 80 wind farms presently operating in China, the China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of China Guodian Group Corp., operates 32 wind farms in China; these 32 wind farms have 952 wind turbine
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or...
s that cumulatively have installed capacity of 780 MW, or approximately 30% of total wind generating capacity in China.
Chinese developers unveiled the world’s first permanent Maglev wind turbine at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing. Chinese company Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology invested CN¥400 million in building the base for the maglev wind turbine generators, in which construction began in November 2007. The company expects a yearly revenue of CN¥1.6 billion from the generators.
According to reports from the 2007 China (Shanghai) International Wind Energy Exhibition held on April 10, 2007 at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, by 2010, 5% of Shanghai’s energy needs will be generated from wind power. Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...
’s first domestically produced wind farm
A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electric power. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines, and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other...
will locate in Lingang New Town; the 7 MW wind farm will begin generating power in early 2008 and the power generated from this wind farm will be connected to the Huadong Eastern China Power Grid. Over the past several years new wind farms have been built in Shanghai, including the Nanhui Wind Farm, the Qinjian Bay Wind Farm and the Chongming Dongtan (Eastern Beaches) Wind Farm. Together these three wind farms have 18 windmills with a total of 24.4 MW.
In 2006 the Shanghai Power Company purchased 64.485 million kW·h of green energy (primarily from wind farms), yet the amount of renewable energy which was subscribed by customers from Shanghai Power Company was only 23% of that total. In 2006 there were just 6,482 households in Shanghai that subscribed to renewable energy in part because the cost of wind power is 0.53 Yuan/kW·h higher than power produced from coal plants
The People's Republic of China is the largest consumer of coal in the world, and is about to become the largest user of coal-derived electricity, generating 1.95 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, or 68.7% of its electricity from coal as of 2006...
; in 2007 total output of wind farms in Shanghai will total 100 million kW·h, which is sufficient to power 120,000 households. Though there were 22 entities that purchased renewable energy in Shanghai, though with the exception of 1/3 of that total being state owned enterprises, the remainder was foreign invested enterprises. Shanghai’s city government did not purchase any renewable energy. Of the top ten power customers in Shanghai, only Bao Steel purchased renewable energy; in 2006 Bao Steel entered into an agreement to purchase 1.2 million kW·h over three years.
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation
China National Offshore Oil Corporation is one of the three major national oil companies of China....
(CNOOC), aiming to diversify from its core oil and gas business, will be seeking international companies interested in cooperating with them to develop offshore wind farms, said CNNOOC president Fu Chengyu at a conference in Hainan Province on April 22, 2007.
The nearest wind farm to China's capital is Guanting, about 90 minutes drive from the city centre near the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Although it is small — 47 wind turbines, it is set to grow to 100 turbines by next year.
Construction of the first offshore wind farm in China started in April 2009, close to Shanghai Dongdaqiao. The wind farm is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009 and to provide electricity to the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The wind farm will consist of 34 wind turbines, each of 3 MW capacity.
Future wind farms
The Gansu Wind Farm
The Gansu Wind Farm is a group of large wind farms under construction in western Gansu province in China , , . The project is one of six national wind power megaprojects approved by the Chinese government. It is expected to grow to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, at an estimated cost of 120 billion...
proposed for western Gansu province is one of six national wind power megaprojects approved by the Chinese government
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...
. It is expected to grow to 20,000 MW by 2020, at an estimated cost of 120 billion Chinese yuan ($17.5 billion). In 2008, construction began on a 750 kV AC power line to carry electricity from the wind farm.
Stability and cost
The increasing penetration of wind power has exacerbated the problems of delivering reliable power to users.
“Because wind energy is unstable, it is a pollutant and affects the safety of the power grid,” said Hu Xueha, the deputy chief engineer of China’s Power Grid Research Institute.
Furthermore, the transmission capacity of the grid hasn't kept up with the growth of China's wind farms.
According to recent data from the China Power Union, only 72% (8.94 GW) of China’s total wind power capacity was connected to the grid.
In addition, increasing China's wind power capacity means increasing coal use as well, to provide power when the wind isn't available.
"China will need to add a substantial amount of coal-fired power capacity by 2020 in line with its expanding economy, and the idea is to bring some of the capacity earlier than necessary in order to facilitate the wind-power transmission," according to Shi Pengfei, vice president of the Chinese Wind Power Association.
Shi is also concerned about the high cost of wind power, which makes the industry dependent on the government's willingness to subsidize renewable power. "It isn't that wind power is showing signs of over-heating. It has already overheated."
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Renewable energy is helping the People's Republic of China complete its economic transformation and achieve "energy security". China rapidly has moved along the path of renewable energy development. About 17 percent of China's electricity came from renewable sources in 2007, led by the world's...
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China High Speed Transmission Equipment Group Company, Ltd. or China High Speed Transmission, China High Speed, is a high-speed gear transmission equipment manufacturer in China. It is the largest wind power transmission gear manufacturer in China....