China Wind Energy Capacity May Reach 1,000 GW by 2050

China continues to create headlines in the area of renewable energy, this time concerning the wind power generating capacity it might reach by 2050 – some 1,000 gigawatts. China is already the world’s largest generator of wind energy capacity.

The news comes from a study prepared by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which has broad control over the Chinese economy. The total of 1,000 GW would represent a dramatic increase from the 41 GW of wind farm capacity it showed at the end of 2010.

The Worldwatch Institute writes: “The breathtaking growth of Chinese wind power illustrates how effective government policy can influence the market. Since the issuing of the renewable energy law, the government has enacted a series of policies to facilitate wind power development. One important step has been to improve the wind power pricing regulation, which uses a competitive bidding process to determine the price of wind power. Through five rounds of public tendering to issue wind concessions, policymakers have explored ways to further improve pricing and disperse worries in the industry about excessively low bidding hindering further development.”

Political and economic maneuvering aside, this is positive news from a climate perspective because the potential capacity of 1,000 gigawatts would reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 gigatons a year, roughly equivalent to the combined carbon dioxide emissions of Germany, France, and Italy in 2009, the study from the NRDC’s Energy Research Institute showed.

Such renewable energy capacity would generate about 17 percent of China’s electricity output in 2050, compared to the present 1 percent number.

As reported last April by the market research company Lucintel, over the last decade, China has been strengthening its position in wind energy generation and gradually emerged as the first largest installed base of wind turbines in the world. The wind turbine manufacturing sector in China has experienced a rapid development, as lots of domestic manufacturers have emerged within a short span of time.

“China is one of the world’s pioneers in the wind power development,” the report said. The report added that wind energy in China has grown at a CAGR of 104 percent in the last five years (2005-2010) on cumulative installation basis and reached 44,734 MW in 2010. The market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 19 percent for the next five years (2011-2016) on cumulative MW installations.