Wind power in China
With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind power resources: it is estimated China has about 2,380 gigawatts (GW) of exploitable capacity on land and 200 GW on the sea.
In 2016, China added 19.3 GW of wind power generation capacity to reach a total capacity of 149 GW, and generated 241 TWh of electricity, representing 4% of total national electricity consumption. Both China's installed capacity and new capacity in 2015 are the largest in the world by a wide margin, with the next largest market, the United States, adding 8.6 GW in 2015 and having an installed capacity of 74.4 GW. Due to a substantially higher capacity factor, the United States remains, by a slight margin, the world leader when ranked by production, having generated 190.9 TWh of electricity in 2015. China is forecast to have 250 GW of wind capacity by 2020 as part of the government's pledge to produce 15 percent of all electricity from renewable resources in this year. As of end 2015 the countries when ranked by total installations were: 1. China, 2. United States. 3. Germany 4. India. 5. Spain and 6. United Kingdom.
China has identified wind power as a key growth component of the country's economy; researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030. However, in practice, the use of wind energy in China has not always kept up with the remarkable construction of wind power capacity in the country.
The largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer in China is Goldwind from Xinjiang province. Established in 1998, Goldwind aggressively developed new technology and expanded its market share, though this then decreased from 35% in 2006 to 19% in 2012. As of 2014, Goldwind remains the largest competitor in the Chinese wind energy market, with a 19% share of new installations. It is followed by Guodian United Power Technology Company (a subsidiary of China Guodian Corporation) at 11%, and Mingyang Wind Power at 9%.
The China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., another subsidiary of China Guodian Corporation, was an early pioneer in wind farm operation; at one point it operated 40% of the wind farms 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. The Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology company invested CN¥400 million in building the base for the maglev wind turbine generators, in which construction began in November 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan expects a yearly revenue of CN¥1.6 billion from the generators.
In 2005, the standing committee of the National People's Congress passed a law that requires Chinese power grid enterprises to purchase all the electricity produced by the renewable energy sector.
In 2006 the Shanghai Power Company purchased 64.485 gigawatt-hours (GWh) 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/kWh higher than power produced from coal plants; in 2007 total output of wind farms in Shanghai will total 100 GWh, 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 GWh over three years.
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (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.
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’s first domestically produced wind farm 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 wind turbines with a total of 24.4 MW.
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, and Sinovel along with most major foreign wind turbine manufacturers. China also increased production of small-scale wind turbines to about 80,000 turbines 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, but about a quarter of this was not connected to the grid.
In 2011, China put forth a plan to have 100 GW of grid-connected wind power capacity by the end of 2015 and to generate 190 terawatt-hours of wind power annually, and in 2014 it met its capacity target early. China was the first country in the world to reach 100 GW of installed wind capacity.
Wind power by province
(2016 year-end, MW)
|Capacity factor||Curtailment (waste) rate||Province population
|Watts per capita|
China set an ambitious goal of 5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020. However, development of offshore wind power did not come as fast as expected. Construction of Donghai Bridge Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in China started in April 2009, close to Donghai Bridge, and commissioned in 2010 to provide electricity to the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The wind farm consists of 34 Sinovel 3 MW wind turbines at a cost of US$ 102 million. The next is the 150 MW Longyuan Rudong Intertidal Wind Farm costing 500 million ¥, operational in 2012. By the end of 2012, China had only installed 389.6 MW offshore wind capacity, still far from the target goal of 5 GW by the end of 2015.
In May 2014, total capacity of offshore wind power in China was 565 MW, which raised to about 900 MW in 2015, less than a fifth of the expected target. Installations increased substantially in 2016, with 592 MW of offshore wind power capacity deployed, ranking third in the world behind Germany and the Netherlands. By the end of 2016, the total cumulative offshore wind power capacity in the country was 1.9 GW.
Offshore wind development slower pace in China is mainly due to the lack of experience of domestic turbine manufacturers in the sector. This forces local development to use foreign products, resulting in Siemens being the largest supplier of offshore wind turbines in China. Another problem is the huge investment needed and associated risks of offshore development, which discourage private companies.
Future wind farms
The Gansu Wind Farm Project under construction in western Gansu province is one of six national wind power megaprojects approved by the Chinese government. 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.
When complete, the complex of wind farms at Gansu may become the world's largest collective wind farm.
Areas with great wind power potential such as Gansu are sometimes far away from established industrial and residential centers. Coal-fired plants have a constituency of miners and local governments which wind-power projects lack. This has led to underutilization of the power produced by wind power.
Transmission capacity of the grid hasn't kept up with the growth of China's wind farms. In 2009, only 72% (8.94 GW) of China’s total wind power capacity was connected to the grid. In 2014, 96.37 GW of China's capacity was connected to the grid, out of a total capacity of 114.6 GW. In the first half of 2015, 1.75 TWh of wind power was wasted according to China's National Energy Administration. The slowdown in the Chinese economy in 2015 also led to overcapacity in the power sector, reducing demand. In an effort to reduce excess power capacity and encourage greater utilization of renewables, the Chinese government halted approvals for construction of new coal power plants for the three-year period starting in 2016. Combined curtailment of North China wind power was nearly 34 TWh in 2015.
In 2014, the US generated more electricity from wind (167 TWh) despite a lower generating capacity because of China's connectivity and grid capacity problems. According to a 2013 report in The Economist, the US produced 40% more energy from a similar capacity of wind power, because Chinese wind farms are not efficiently connected to the power grid.
- Energy policy of China
- Renewable energy in China
- Climate change in China
- China High Speed Transmission
- Solar power in China
- Bioenergy in China
- Geothermal power in China
- Hydroelectricity in China
- Renewable energy
- Renewable energy commercialization
- Renewable energy by country
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