At present, there is little development of wind power in many of these countries. However, that is not to say that there is no potential, or no plans. While one might expect a country such as Mongolia to have an outstanding wind resource, the potential for development in countries such as Vietnam or Laos may come as a surprise; for it is often believed that there is not a viable wind resource in the tropics – where many of these countries are located.
Factors other than pure wind resource potential are involved in projecting when (or indeed if) wind energy is likely to be developed and how much: demographic factors, dependence on fuel imports, economic growth and consequent increase in electrical demand, state of the transmission and distribution system, etc.
One potential enabler open to many of these countries is the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol (CDM), which can potentially stimulate investment in renewable energy projects by industrialized countries.
While the take-up of this has already been very good in some sectors (such as in Thailand’s biomass power sector), there are so far few wind power projects in the CDM pipeline in the in this region – two in the Philippines, and one each in Mongolia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Across the region covered here there are at least a dozen vibrant and rapidly growing markets in which wind energy could play a significant role. There is also a noticeable shift in the attitude of policymakers and utility executives to wind power. While wind turbines would have been dismissed as ‘too expensive’ by most developing country energy planners just a few years ago, the continuing success of the technology in an ever widening group of countries has changed that attitude to one of dramatically increased knowledge about wind farm generation and the role that it can play in a country’s power mix.
The markets covered below give some idea of the technical potential, and also the wide range of background conditions in this diverse grouping. In some cases, an acute need for additional power capacity comes together with an excellent resource – and such is the case for countries such as Vietnam or Pakistan.
Developing a substantial share of renewable power generation always requires government targets and incentives. Quite a few of the countries in this region do have targets in place – though that does not necessarily mean that incentives are also in place to support the achievement of those targets.
For instance, Bangladesh wants 5% of its electricity to come from renewables by 2015; Pakistan has set a target of 10% by 2012. Mongolia plans to increase its share of renewable electricity from the current 3% to 20–25% by 2020.
The Philippines is targeting 4.7% by 2013; Sri Lanka wants to go from the current 5% to reach 10% by 2017 and 14.1% by 2022, Tonga is targeting 50% by 2012, and Indonesia wants to build 255 MW of wind farm capacity by 2025 (alongside other renewable technologies such as 6 GW of geothermal).
Some wind power development has already taken place in this region, including:
The Philippines’ existing power generating capacity is about 15 GW. Electricity generated from renewable sources such as hydro, biomass and geothermal power comprise 33% of the Philippines’ current power mix, and the government has said it hopes to increase that to 40% in a decade, adding wind, solar and ocean energy to the renewable mix.
A 41.7 million USD fund has been set up to help with this process. As far as wind resource goes, according to SWERA figures2, 11,000
km2 – or 3.7% of the land area – have good wind resources, which could potentially support the development of 55 GW of wind power – over three times the current total installed power capacity.
Vietnam’s (purely technical) wind potential could support 642 GW of wind power according to SWERA figures. In addition, Vietnam has a fast-growing economy and a growing demand for electric power. The country has been expanding its generating capacity, including through new large hydro dams, but still needs to import electricity from China.
The Vietnamese government is aiming for renewable power to provide about 5% of the nation’s electricity by 2020. Vietnam’s first wind farm developments took place in 2009. One of the country’s first wind farm plants at Binh Thuan will soon be connected to the grid, and two more wind farm projects are reported to be in the pipeline in Lam Dong Province (150 MW and 80 MW).
Investor interest in the Vietnamese wind turbines market is considerable, and overall, some 20 wind power projects with a combined capacity of 20 GW are reportedly in the pipeline.
Thailand’s growing affluence has led to a startling rise in per capita electricity consumption, which has grown by almost 25% in the past five years. An estimated 30.2 GW of new generation capacity will be needed by 2021. At present, Thailand’s electricity generation is dominated by fossil fuels, but the government recently announced a 15-year Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) with a target of increasing the share of renewable energy from 6.4% in 2008 to 20% in 2022, with an 800 MW target of wind energy capacity.
According to SWERA figures, Thailand’s technical wind resource could support the development of 190 GW of wind power. Prosperous Taiwan generated and consumed 230 TWh in 2008, yet it has to import 98% of its fuel requirements.
Taiwan has set a target for renewables to meet 10% of its electricity needs by 2010, up from 5.8% currently. Wind power is expected to meet 80% of that, and a feed-in tariff was introduced in 2009.
During 2009, Taiwan installed 78 MW of new wind power, bringing the total to 436 MW. Taiwan does have a good wind resource on its western coast as well as offshore, but it remains to be seen if the guaranteed purchase price is high enough to encourage investment.
In Pakistan, the far-reaching implications of the flood disaster of 2010 on infrastructure in general, and the power infrastructure specifically, cannot yet be assessed at the time of writing. There was an acute power shortage even before this disaster, and a strong increase in power demand. Most of the country’s power needs to date are met by fossil fuels.
To support the addition of renewable capacity, the Asian Development Bank set up a 510 million USD financing facility in 2006, and during that same year, a feed-in tariff was introduced.
According to Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board, wind power offers a technical potential of 360 GW, and this is supported by figures from SWERA, which estimate a 349.3 GW potential.
The GWEO scenarios For No n-OECD ASIA Across the whole region, 78 MW of new capacity was installed in 2009, and the total stood at 475 MW at the end of the year.
Under the Reference scenario, the speed of wind power development will not increase substantially in non-OECD Asia, and the annual market across this vast region will grow to just 250 MW by 2015 and 500 MW by 2020, bringing the total installed capacity to 4.3 GW by 2020.
Thereafter, the annual market will increase gradually to 1,150 GW, which would result in a total capacity of 15.6 GW by 2030. Given the excellent wind resources in some of the Asian countries, and recent government initiatives to help exploiting them, the Moderate scenario describes a more positive development.
More than 2,500 of new wind energy capacity would be installed in the region every year by 2015, and this would gradually increase to a pace of 19.5 GW every year by 2030.
The result would be a total installed capacity of 24.2 GW by 2020, and 120.3 GW by 2030 – nearly 8 times the size of the Reference scenario.
The difference in terms of power produced and consequently CO2 savings would be considerable. While under the Reference scenario, wind energy would produce only 10 TWh by 2020 and save 6.3 million tons of CO2, the Moderate scenario would achieve a production of 59 TWh in this timeframe, thereby saving the emissions of 35.6 tons of CO2 every year. This would grow to close to 300 TWh by 2030 and savings of 177 million tons of CO2.
Economically, also, such a development would have a considerable impact. By 2015, wind energy could attract around €3 billion worth of investment to the region every year, and create around 40,000 jobs.
The Advanced scenario assumes that current efforts to promote renewable energy are intensified, reflecting governments’ aim of making the most of the natural wind resources and reaping the related benefits. This would attract annual investments in the region of €8-10 million over the course of the scenario period, and create 150,000 jobs.
It is in this scenario that wind power would start to make a small but noticeable contribution to the region’s electricity supply. A total installed capacity of 20 GW would produce around 50 TWh of clean power by 2015, and this would rise to 55 GW generating 134 TWh only five years later. By 2030, the installed capacity would increase to 140 GW, with an annual power production of 345 T Wh.