China completes 1st stage of largest wind energy project (10 GW)

China has completed the first-stage of the Jiuquan wind power base, the country’s largest wind farm, local officials said at the ceremony to mark the completion Wednesday in northwest China.

More than 3,500 wind turbines have been erected with an installed capacity of 5.16 GW, said Wang Jianxin, director of the Jiuquan Development and Reform Commission.

At present, 1.15 GW of wind turbines are generating electricity into the power grid, he said. Construction on the second stage, with an installed capacity of 7.55 GW, was officially begun Wednesday.

Seven 750-kilovolt substations and a 1,780-km-long high voltage transmission line link the Jiuquan base to China’s major east-west grid through which wind power can reach China’s energy-hungry east.

The 20-billion-yuan wind power base, located in the windy desert near Jiuquan City, Gansu Province, started construction in August 2009 and is expected to be completed in 2015.

"The Jiuquan wind power base, after being put into full operation, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 16 million tonnes annually," said Li Jianhua, Communist Party chief of Jiuquan.

China is seeking to use more clean energy to reduce carbon emissions to protect the environment, a program that is driving wind, solar and hydropower construction booms.

Apart from Jiuquan, the world’s second-largest economy has planned to build another six ten-GW wind power bases. China’s total wind power generation is estimated to soar to 281 billion kwh by 2020 from 26.9 billionkwh in 2009.

Wind power is developing rapidly in China and is set to become a major factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This was the message from the China Wind Power 2010 exhibition in Beijing Wednesday.

At the end of 2009, China ranked second in the world in terms of installed wind generating capacity and was the country where capacity was growing fastest, according to a report released Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace.

Opening the exhibition, Klaus Rave, chairman of GWEC, said that by the end of 2011, China will have surpassed the United States to become the largest wind power generator in the world.

"Developing wind power is in accordance with China’s emission reduction targets," said Li Junfeng, secretary-general of Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA).

The Chinese government pledged last year to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and said non-fossil fuels would generate 15 percent of primary energy by 2020.

"The rapid development of wind power shows the world that China is determined to tackle greenhouse gas emissions," Li said. "It’s also a great opportunity to build the wind power industry."

The boom in wind power benefits economic growth as well as the world investment environment, Rave said.

Zhu Junsheng, of CREIA, said that since recent coal price increases, many traditional generating plants have been running at a loss. By contrast, wind power is clean and beneficial, and that is why its market has grown so fast over the past five years.

China’s total installed wind energy capacity is planned to reach at least 150 gigawatts by 2020 compared with 25.8 gigawatts at the end of 2009.

But there are outstanding issues such as connections to the electric grid and the transfer of wind power to households, as well as quality issues affecting wind turbines, Zhu said.

"Many places with good wind energy resources are located in China’s northwest, which is less developed economically and consumes little electricity. What we need to do is to put the wind power onto the grid and transfer it to areas that need it, such as southeast China," said Dong Luying, from the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.