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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Eye On China: China Could Become World's Largest Wind Power Producer

Report Forecasts 150,000 MW of Wind Power Installed in China by 2020

[From China]

China is expected to overtake Germany and the United States to become the world's largest wind power producer by 2020, a report forecast.

The 2006 Annual Report on China's New Energy Industry says that the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-2005) period saw a rapid development of wind power industry, with the installed capacity rose by 30 percent on an annual average, rising from 350,000 kw in 2000 to 1.26 million kw in 2005, ranking 7th in the world.

The report quotes a prediction by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)that the total wind power installed capacity in China will probably reach 150 million kw in 2020, making China one of the world's major wind power markets.

As a country with long coastal lines and abundant wind power resources, China boasts of wind power resources of 3.2 billion kw, of which one billion kw can be developed, according to the report.

China has set up more than sixty wind power farms around the country, developed key technologies and trained personnel specialized in designing and operating wind power farms, making the country well prepared to large-scale development of the industry, the report says.

According to China's national development plan, the total installed capacity of wind power will reach five million kw by 2010 and 30 million kw by 2020.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), China will set up about 30 large wind power projects of 100 MW at regions with abundant wind power resources, such as eastern coastal areas, Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China.

In terms of small wind power projects, China has already developed the largest market in the world. By the end of 2005, China has installed 320,000 small wind turbine generators with a total capacity of 65,000 kw, supplying power to residents in remote areas, according to the report.

I hope for all our sakes that China develops at least that much wind power. They're going to need all of the carbon-free, renewable power they can get their hands on as they try to feed their rapidly growing economy.

I was interested to see that China has already captured the world's largest market for distributed, small-scale wind generation, with 65 MW of installed capacity already. I'm not sure where we are at in the U.S., but I would bet our small-scale wind industry is on the order of 1-5 MW of installed capacity. China is also the world's leader in solar hot water heating and is home to a rapidly growing solar photovoltaic market (both in terms of demand and manufacturing).

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