High-altitude wind farm constructed in China by Goldwind

A 49.5-megawatt (MW) wind farm has been constructed in Mouding county, southwest China’s Yunnan province, the local publicity department said Thursday.

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group constructed the wind farm with an investment of 483 million yuan ($76.7 million) over the past 15 months.

Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co Ltd (Goldwind) supplied 33 units of 1.5MW permanent magnetic direct drive wind turbines for the wind energy project.

The wind farm, based in Fengtun on Dajianfeng Mountain, is 2,000-2,500 meters above sea level in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Developing wind farms in high-altitude areas has become a priority for Chinese power companies and wind turbine manufacturers, as both look to exploit rich wind resources on the country’s plains.

"We have tailor-made turbine models featuring larger blades and greater capacities for insulation, heat dissipation and lightening protection, in order to cope with harsher geographical and climate conditions in plateau areas," said Wu Gang, board chairman of Goldwind.

Other Chinese turbine makers have also shown great interest in developing wind turbines for high-altitude areas. In November, Chinese manufacturer CSR Zhuzhou said it had connected high-altitude wind turbines to the grid at a wind farm in Yunnan province, and that it had orders for 400 of these specially-adapted wind turbines, marking the largest order in the country.

Longyuan Power and Huaneng Renewables, China’s leading wind farm developers, have targeted southwest China’s Guizhou province for wind power projects. The province is aiming for 9 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity by 2020.

Wind power has developed by leaps and bounds in China over recent years, as it plays a crucial role in fulfilling the Chinese government’s pledge to have non-fossil fuels account for 15 percent of the country’s primary energy consumption by 2020.

By the end of 2010, China had 44.7 GW cumulative installed wind capacity, ousting the United States as the world’s largest wind power developer. China plans to have 100 GW wind energy connected to the grid by 2015.

To date, about 90 percent of China’s existing wind farms are located below altitudes of 1,000 meters. Industry officials say high-altitude development is expensive due to high construction costs and doubts over whether the projects will turn profits.