Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
Although the use of the Chinese wind resource for water pumping is many hundreds of years old, it is only in recent years and with the country's rapid economic growth that attention has turned to utilising wind power by means of modern turbines.
The country not only has an enormous energy/electricity generation requirement, an historical reliance on coal and limited indigenous oil resources, but also severe environmental problems. To address these issues, the Government has targeted renewables to supply an increasing share of power output from green energy.
The provinces of Inner Mongolia and Hebei and the eastern coastal areas are well blessed with wind energy. The theoretical potential of the country as a whole has been estimated to be over 3 000 GW, but the Chinese Meteorology Research Institute states that the practical potential is in the region of 250 GW onshore (at 10 m) and 750 GW offshore (at 50-100 m).
The China Renewable Energy Law, issued at the end of February 2005, became effective on 1 January 2006. The legislation is intended to provide the basis for favourable long-term financial arrangements in order to encourage private investors and hence to expedite the development of the wind industry.
The strategic targets set by the Energy Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) were for 4 GW of installed wind capacity by 2010 and 20 GW by 2020. The targets were subsequently raised to 5 GW by 2010 and 30 GW by 2020. At the beginning of 2007 it was reported that the 2010 target had been raised again, to 8 GW. It has been suggested that these goals could be surpassed, with capacity in 2010 totalling nearly 10 GW and in 2020, 54 GW.
From a very small beginning in 1986, when a pilot wind farm was established in Shandong province, the sector had grown to approximately 1 300 MW by end-2005, a 30% annual increase since 2000. Installed capacity was spread across more than 60 wind farms in 15 provinces. By end-2006, capacity more than doubled to about 2 630 MW. In April 2007 it was reported that installed capacity would reach 4 GW by the end of the year and that the 5 GW target would probably be attained some two years earlier than expected.
The size of installed turbines ranges from 600 kW to 1.5 MW. The national manufacturers are now fully capable of producing turbines up to 750 kW and several large-scale turbines - 1.2 and 1.5 MW - are being tested. However, it is generally felt that it will be necessary for the industry to become expert in producing the larger machines in order to supply the ambitious development plan.
It is estimated that by end-2005 some 65 MW, representing approximately
320 000 small stand-alone turbines, had been installed in remote areas.