China: construction would begin on 20,000 MW wind energy plant in Jiuquan

Construction has begun of the first 10,000 MW of a wind farm in Jiuquan, in the north-western province of Gansu. The wind turbines plant will be built in several phases: under the plan, the first 5,000 MW will be installed by 2010, and will then be extended to 13,000 MW by 2015 and finally reach 20,000 MW by 2020.

Thus, when completed, the Jiuquan wind energy plant will not only be the largest wind farm, but also the largest power station ever built, since its capacity (though not the generated power) exceeds the 18,200 MW of the Chinese hydropower station of the Three Gorges, which presently holds the world record.

According to a statement by Wu Shengxue, deputy head of the Jiuquan Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the total cost of the project will exceed 120 billion yuan (about 12.6 billion euros). It is expected that Chinese materials and technologies (wind turbines, blades and other components) will be primarily used to build the plant.

The area in the vicinity of Jiuquan where the plant is being built has an extension of 10,000 square kilometres (equivalent to a square of 100 km per side), large enough to install – as pointed out by Wu Shengxue – 40,000 MW of wind power. In this area, six wind farms are already in service, for a total capacity of 600 MW, which will exceed 1,000 MW by the end of this year.