Wind power leads renewable energy race in China with 34,500 wind turbines

Many tall white wind turbines, which look like traditional windmills, have been installed in China’s deserts, grasslands, mountains and costal areas since the 1980s. They have been used to convert wind energy into electricity in an eco-friendly way.

The number of wind turbines in China, excluding Chinese Taiwan, reached nearly 34,500 at the end of 2010, more than 85 percent of which were produced by Chinese wind energy companies.

Qin Haiyan, secretary-general of the Chinese Wind Energy Association under the China Renewable Energy Society, said that China is fully capable of producing wind turbines, and the percentage of domestic parts is rising fast. In addition, the country’s wind power equipment supply chain is being gradually improved.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan period from 2006 to 2010, China’s wind power industry made great improvements on imported wind turbines to adapt them to certain particular national wind farm conditions, such as low wind speed, low temperature and high altitude. Meanwhile, China also caught up with developed countries in the development of large-scale wind turbines. At present, four Chinese wind turbine makers are listed among the world’s top 10, and Chinese wind power equipment is becoming increasingly popular abroad.

China’s newly installed wind farm capacity reached 18.9 gigawatts in 2010, and the total capacity jumped to 44.7 gigawatts, both ranking first in the world.

Wind energy leads China’s green energy development

Currently, coal-fired power plants account for about 75 percent of electricity in China. Generating electricity from wind has proven useful in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as well as in curbing global warming. The World Energy Council estimated that every 1 million kilowatts of wind-generated electricity will save about 600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions on average.

China has great advantages for the development of wind power generation. China is a country with a vast territory and abundant wind energy resources. The total wind power of China is more than 3 billion kilowatts, ranking first in the world. In addition, the average wind speeds of most places of China are more than 3 meters per second, and the best wind speed for wind power generation is between 3 and 25 meters per second. Of these places, the northeastern region, northwestern region, southwestern plateau, Inner Mongolia, coastal regions and islands have especially-qualified wind speeds for wind power generation and huge potentials for the development of the industry.

Power grid integration still bottleneck for development of industry

Currently, wind power generation has become the leader of Chinese green energy industries, but some problems have also emerged successively.

Lin said frankly that power grid integration is still the largest difficulty that blocks the development of China’s wind power generation.

It is difficult to control the stability of wind power when integrating it to the grid, which has very high demand both on the stability and long-distance conveyance of wind power. Statistics show that 10 percent of wind power is wasted because wind power is poorly integrated into the grid, and the grid cannot bear the load.

Wind power will continue to lead the development of China’s green energy in the next few years. Statistics from the National Energy Administration show that by 2015, China’s wind power installed capacity will reach 100 million kilowatts and can save about 80 million tons of standard coal when the annual energy output exceeds 200 billion kilowatt-hours, and wind power as a proportion of total energy will increase from nearly 1 percent in 2010 to about 2 percent.