China dethrones US as largest wind power installer

09:20, January 14, 2011      

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China installed 16 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity in 2010, lifting its total capacity to 41.8 GW and replacing the US for the first time as the world's largest in wind-power installations, according to information from a wind power forum Wednesday.

According to Li Junfeng, secretary general of the China Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), this is a milestone for the country's renewable energy sector and China has also become the world's largest consumer and producer of wind power equipment. He added that China's wind power industry has the potential to lead in the global market.

The sector has also become a hotbed for investments, according to a China Business News (CBN) report. 24 provinces in the country have built wind power fields, and some large-scale wind power bases, and Hebei, Gansu provinces and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have entered a phase of rapid development. In 2010, four Chinese enterprises were among the world's top 10 wind power equipment manufacturers.

While Yang Ailun, head of Climate and Energy at Greenpeace China, pointed out that although the country is proven to have the potential to become a world superpower in renewable energy, wind power still accounts for only a tiny fraction of China's entire energy structure and serious challenges such as grid access still need to be overcome. The country also needs to pile up efforts in translating its massive installations to massive utilization.

Li also said the quality of the wind power equipment also needs improving. Wind power generation in 2010 only reached 50 billion kilowatt-hour, lower than that of the US. And grid-connected capacity lags behind installed capacity by more than 30 percent, much higher than the 10 percent gap in advanced countries, all of which are factors that affect wind power efficiency.

With a total capacity of 41.8 GW, wind power in China has the potential to replace 31.3 million tons of coal, slashing emissions of over 90 million tons of carbon dioxide, 33,000 tons of total suspended particulates; over 64,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and almost 60,000 tons of nitrogen oxides.

The latest report released by CREIA and Greenpeace predict that by 2020, China's wind power capacity can reach 230 million kilowatts, equaling 13 Three Gorges Power Station, and power generation is expected to reach 464.9 billion kilowatt-hour, replacing 200 thermal power stations.

Source: Global Times
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