China plans to produce 1,000 GW of wind power by 2050

The report was prepared by the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute (NDRC ERI) with close technical support from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report shows how China, already the world’s largest wind turbines market, could reach 1000 GW of wind farm by the middle of the century, an achievement that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 gigatonnes per year in 2050, or roughly equivalent to the combined CO2 emissions of Germany, France and Italy in 2009.

“By 2050, wind energy could be one of the five largest power sources, alongside coal, hydro, solar and nuclear power. It will play a vital role in China’s energy supply and in our efforts to address climate change”, said Mr. Wang Zhongying, Deputy Director-General of ERI, who launched the report at the China Wind Power conference.

Achieving the potential offered by wind energy will require an estimated USD 200 billion (CNY 12 trillion) of investment to 2050 and represents tremendous opportunities for wind developers and investors. Figures exclude investment in the transmission network and costs associated with the variability of output from wind farms.

”This roadmap provides solid ground for the wind deployment effort, with detailed technical, economic and policy milestones that will help wind deliver on its potential,” said Bo Diczfalusy, Director of the Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology at the IEA.

China became the world’s largest wind market in 2010, surpassing the United States with nearly 19 GW installed in that year, according to Chinese Wind Energy Association. Looking ahead, ERI’s roadmap sees capacity of 200 GW by 2020 and 400 GW by 2030. The most recent resource assessments suggest a potential of more than 2 300 GW, equivalent to two and a half times China’s total current installed generation capacity from all energy sources.

The roadmap charts a mix of onshore and offshore capacity, with onshore deployment in the North and Northwest dominating up to 2020. After 2020, offshore machines in the East will need to increase in number, while a optimized power system and strengthened grid will enable the transmission of electricity to the principal load centres in the east from increasing capacity in the Northwest. The system integration of these relatively high shares of wind power will remain one of the major challenges to this effort.

The China Wind Energy Roadmap is the first national roadmap that has been developed by a country using the IEA roadmap tools, drawn from its global roadmap series. These international roadmaps provide guidance to governments, industry and other elements of the power system about the potential for a full range of clean energy technologies, complementing the deep understanding that national authorities and experts have of domestic technology, markets and policy.

The China Wind Energy Roadmap was supported by the British Embassy in Beijing and the RED Programme (China-Denmark Renewable Energy Development).