China?s biggest city commits ?1.2 billion to wind energy

In the latest example of cities getting behind wind power and other renewable energies, Shanghai has announced it might spend as much as €2 billion in the next four years to increase its capacity of green energy, with more than half earmarked for onshore and offshore wind farms.

Shanghai, the largest metropolis in China with 23 million residents, said in a statement that the money would play a key role in achieving a civic target of 1% of energy use coming from locally-developed non-fossil fuels.

Plagued by persistent pollution and smog, the Shanghai government also hopes the funds will be the catalyst for new local energy industries worth tens of billions of euros.

The government plan, which would see approximately €1.2 billion being spent on developing emissions-free onshore and offshore wind farm plants by 2015, would also provide funding for solar power , biomass-fired generation and geothermal energy.

Shanghai is increasingly turning to green energy projects to meet residential and manufacturing power needs. Located at the mouth of the Yangtze River on the east China coast, Shanghai also developed Asia’s first major offshore wind farm. The 102 MW Shanghai Donghai Bridge offshore wind farm began operating in June 2010.

The city says its plan would see total non-fossil fuels making up 12% of Shanghai’s primary energy consumption in 2015 — 11% of which is hydro and nuclear power from other provinces — up from 6% in 2010.

In a related development, China’s State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) recently announced wind power would provide 3% of the nation’s electricity by 2015, doubling from the 2011 level.

China’s wind turbines market doubled its accumulated installed capacity annually between 2005 and 2009, SERC said, adding the nation added another 18.9 gigawatts in 2010, bringing the total to 44.7 GW and surpassing the US as the nation with the biggest installed wind farm capacity.

Shi Yubo, SERC vice chairman, has said China’s installed wind turbines capacity could reach 100 GW by 2015.

According to a SERC report, China’s exploitable land-based wind resources are 2,380 GW and offshore resources are 200 GW.

A report released in October by the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute and the International Energy Agency predicted China could have 1,000 GW of installed wind power capacity by 2050.

Chris Rose,