Zhang, también vicepresidente de la Comisión Nacional de Reforma y Desarrollo, destacó que la actual capacidad mundial instalada de energía eólica ya alcanzó los 120 GW y es parte esencial de la estructura energética del mundo.
A finales de 2008, la capacidad instalada de energía eólica de China alcanzó los 10 GW y el Plan de Desarrollo de las Energías Renovables a Medio y Largo Plazo, emitido por la Comisión en 2007, fija el potencial de recursos eólicos explotables en 1.000 GW, 700 GW de ellos en el mar.
Según Zhang, la instalación de parques eólicos en el mar, prioritarios en el impulso de la energía eólica por la Unión Europea (UE), es más ventajosa porque no ocupa tierras, aprovecha mayores vientos y causa un impacto menor en el medio ambiente.
China cuenta con grandes zonas costeras y oceánicas que ofrecen condiciones ideales para el desarrollo de la energía eólica y suministro de energía limpia a unas regiones orientales en pleno desarrollo económico, destacó.
Uno de los primeros parques eólicos marinos es el llamado del "Puente del Mar Oriental" en Shanghai, iniciado con 34 turbinas y que cuando esté acabado con una inversión total de 336,6 millones de dólares, generará 267 GWh de electricidad al año también para la Exposición Universal de 2010.
Según Zhang, el nuevo plan de energías renovables permitirá ampliar la capacidad de producción de energía eólica prevista para 2020 de 30 gigavatios (GW) a 100 GW. "Y al ritmo de fabricación actual, es probable que se consiga antes", observa Mikel González, director gerente de la planta de ANtec, fabricante vasco de frenos para aerogeneradores, en Tianjin, a unos 180 kilómetros de Pekín.
China es ahora el cuarto mayor generador de energía eólica del mundo, tras experimentar un crecimiento anual en su capacidad de más del 100 por ciento en los últimos años. La segunda mayor economía del mundo planea doblar de nuevo su producción eólica en el año 2010.
En la Ruta de la Seda, la vía comercial más importante de la antigua China, los recursos eólicos conducen al país a un futuro más verde.
China va camino de convertirse en una gran potencia eólica, y para ello basta contemplar la evolución de la potencia eólica instalada:
Año 2000: apenas 346 MW.
2001: 402 MW.
2002: 469 MW.
2003: 567 MW.
2004: 764 MW
2005: 1.260 MW.
2006: 2.604 MW.
2007: 5.912 MW.
2008: 12.210 MW
2009: 20.000 MW (previsto).
2010: 30.000 MW (previsto)
2020: 100.000 MW (previsto)
Numeros empresas internacionales tienen fábricas en China, como la danesa Vestas o Siemens, o las españolas Gamesa y Acciona, pero también hay potentes empresas nacionales, como Goldwind de la provincia de Xinjiang. China tiene un enorme potencial eólico. El proteccionismo dificulta la implantación de empresas extranjeras, incluidas las españolas Gamesa y Acciona.
China implantó la Ley de Energías Renovables en el año 2006 como parte del plan para mejorar sus registros medioambientales. Lo que más necesita en estos momentos es la tecnología para hacer efectiva su determinación de construir un modelo económico limpio y ecológico.
Según González, en China hay alrededor de 70 empresas que fabrican turbinas eólicas; entre ellas, la española Gamesa, con capacidad para generar 4 GW al año. A partir de ahora habrá que añadir más de 60 empresas locales que acaban de incorporarse al mercado.
Gamesa construirá sus primeros parques eólicos en China con una capacidad de 250 megavatios en los próximos tres años, lo que marcará la entrada de la empresa en el país como promotor eólico.
Gamesa creará una sociedad conjunta con Guangdong Nuclear Power para empezar a construir el primer parque este año en la provincia de Shandong, al noreste del gigante asiático, según explicó el presidente de la compañía, Guillermo Ulacia, en una comparecencia previa a la junta general de accionistas.
Ulacia dijo que la creación de la sociedad conjunta es valiosa porque pocas compañías europeas han conseguido entrar recientemente en el mercado chino. China se ha convertido en un mercado prioritario para Gamesa junto con Estados Unidos, India y la Unión Europea, tras aprobar fuertes ayudas al sector de energías renovables en su plan de estímulo.
Sin embargo, el exceso de burocracia y proteccionismo y la creciente competencia de compañías locales chinas han provocado que las compañías extranjeras tengas muchas dificultades para entrar en el mercado chino.
Gamesa, tercer fabricante mundial de aerogeneradores por cuota de mercado, produce hasta ahora en China componentes para turbinas desde 2006 y ha conseguido cuantiosos contratos de venta.
China commits to offshore renewable energy
China is planning to construct a number of 10 GW wind power bases in the coming years, in a bid to further boost the development of the country’s renewable energy industry, the country’s top energy official said recently.
Zhang Guobao, administrator of the National Energy Administration, said: "We have worked out the strategy of building large (wind power) bases and integrating them into the mainstream power grid in order to speed up the pace of wind power development in the country".
Vigorously developing renewable energy, including wind power, forms part of the country’s ongoing strategy to contribute to the global campaign for combating climate change.
Currently, the world’s installed capacity of wind power has reached 120 GW, and wind power has become an essential part of the world’s energy structure, said Zhang, who is also a minister-level vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Although a developing country, China places special emphasis on increasing its use of renewable energy such as wind power. By the end of 2008, the country’s installed capacity of wind power had hit over 10 GW. The Chinese government also released the Renewable Energy Law in 2005 to provide strong legal support to the development of renewable energy in the country.
As part of the estimation in Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy in China, issued by National Development and Reform Commission in September 2007, the total exploitable potential wind power resources in the country could reach over 1,000 GW, of which onshore wind power resources would provide about 300 GW with offshore wind power resources around 700 GW.
To better use wind power resources, Zhang has called for strong efforts to be made to develop offshore wind power resources as offshore wind energy offers higher wind speeds, no occupancy of land resources and smaller impact on the environment.
To date, the EU has already made great efforts to develop offshore wind power and considers it the main priority in the wind energy area.
"China has very long coastlines and vast oceanic areas, providing very good conditions for offshore wind power development", he noted.
The economically well-developed eastern areas of the country suffer from a shortage of fossil fuels, but enjoy sufficient offshore wind power resources. "It is particularly important to develop offshore wind resources to power the economic growth in these areas," he added.
Shi Lishan, deputy director general of the New and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Administration, as well as program director of China Renewable Energy Scale-up Program, said that compared with onshore wind power, offshore wind power generation entails more complicated working conditions, tougher technical requirements and greater difficulties in installation.
All these bring new challenges to turbine manufacturing, project construction, operation and management.
In addition, more attention must be paid to offshore wind power project planning in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with other sectors such as harbors, navigation channels and offshore breeding facilities, and to ensure protection of the environment.
Shi therefore considers it important to draft regulations on offshore wind farm location and environmental impact.
The construction of the Shanghai East Sea Bridge Wind Power Plant has marked a good start for development of the country’s offshore wind power generation.
The first set of 34 wind power turbines for the country’s first offshore wind power farm began the construction in March this year. The 2.3 billion yuan ($336.56 million) project is expected to generate 267 GWh of electricity annually, and will supply clean power to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
‘Wind can power up entire nation’
China’s potential wind power resources alone are sufficient to meet its entire electricity demand, the country’s top wind power research institute has said.
Xiao Ziniu, director of the National Climate Center (NCC), said China’s onshore wind power potential has been evaluated at between 700 GW and 1,200 GW, exactly within the range of the country’s 790 GW power generating capacity for 2008.
The NCC released the numbers after 10 of its experts carried out an intensive investigation of wind power resources across all the provinces of China.
"This result assures us that the country’s entire electricity demand can be met by wind power alone," said Xiao, whose institution functions under the China Meteorological Administration.
The evaluation also revealed that China has 250 GW of potential offshore wind power capacity.
Some regions, Xiao said, had more wind power potential than previously thought.
The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region was estimated to have over 100 GW of wind power generating potential, much more than was estimated earlier.
The new investigation methodology used digital simulation, which resulted in a significant increase in the evaluation potential compared to the 280 GW onshore resources potential evaluated in 2004, Xiao said.
"It greatly strengthened experts’ confidence about the country’s wind power prospects," he said.
Zhang Guobao, the director of the National Energy Administration, had said earlier that China would soon devise favorable policies to develop mega wind power farms, each with over 10 GW capacity.
The National Development and Reform Commission allocated 280 million yuan to the NCC to conduct the investigation and work out a development plan for wind power resources by 2011, Xiao said.
"We set up 400 wind towers to test and simulate the wind energy data so as to analyze the key cities with huge available wind resources," said Xiao. "The result will come out in July. The next step will be to test the specific wind power resources in terms of different districts for these key cities."
"The fresh assessment will help the country choose wind power bases more precisely," he said.
By 2008, China was the world’s second largest wind power market, behind only the US, in terms of newly installed capacity. China added 6 GW of new capacity in 2008, bringing total capacity to 12 GW.
The country’s goal to raise its wind power generation capacity to 100 GW by 2020 was still achievable despite the economic downturn, Shi Lishan, deputy director of Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Administration told China Daily in a previous interview.
Zhang said China would build several wind farms with over 10 GW capacities in the Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, and Gansu, Hebei and Jiangsu provinces, over the next decade.
Xiao said that Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces in northeast China have also started building 10 GW wind power bases.
"The construction of wind power bases is changing fast," he said. "But one thing is for sure, China will accelerate the construction of wind power bases in areas that are proved to have huge wind power potential."
The Xinjiang wind power generation base in Hami will produce 20 GW of electricity. Inner Mongolia will have a 20 GW and 30 GW wind power base in western and eastern parts of the region, respectively.
Hebei and Jiangsu will each have wind power facilities capable of generating 10 GW although 70 percent of Jiangsu’s wind power capacity will come from offshore operations.
Wind power gets set for huge thrust
China’s wind power installed capacity is expected to exceed 30,000 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2010, up from 12,000 MW last year, an official with the National Energy Administration (NEA) said.
In order to achieve this target, the country needs to invest an additional 100 billion yuan at least in the sector, said Shi Lishan, deputy director of the new energy department under the NEA.
China now has the fourth largest wind power capacity in the world. The sector has seen over 100 percent year-on-year growth in the past few years.
"Among all the clean energy sources, wind power is developing the fastest these days. The 30,000 MW target is achievable given the fast pace of growth," said Shi.
By the year 2020, China would have wind power capacity of 100,000 MW, accounting for around 10 percent of the country’s total power generation capacity, he said.
China plans to build six wind power bases each with a capacity of 10,000 MW. Shi said these six bases would be completed by 2020.
Currently, wind power accounts for around 2 percent of China’s total power generation. Industry insiders said, by 2020 wind power will likely surpass nuclear power as China’s third-largest source of electricity, after thermal and hydropower.
As the world’s second largest energy consumer, China has devised preferential policies to boost the development of wind energy. Currently, the country is charting a development plan for the new energy industry, which will reportedly involve an investment of 3 trillion yuan.
"There is no doubt that wind power will account for an important part of that blueprint, as it is now the most developed sector in the new energy area," said Shi.
Wind power has three distinctive advantages. It is renewable, little water consuming and emission-free. Development of wind power can help China achieve its environment protection and emission control targets, said Shi.
Wind power is "vital" as it is the cheapest form of renewable energy, Shi said.
However, Shi noted that there were still some problems in the sector. "Currently, our grid capacity cannot keep pace with the development of wind power, and it is hard for some wind power plants to connect to the grid." "We should improve our grid capacity to make sure all the wind power can be fully used."
China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp, the country’s leading wind power developer, said it plans to increase its installed capacity to 6,000 MW in 2010 from 2,630 MW now.
The company, which produces one third of the wind power in the country, has also embarked on its offshore wind power projects, said Huang Qun, vice-president of Longyuan.
China’s major energy companies have all paid increasing attention to the development of wind power. The country’s five major power producers have all started wind power businesses. China National Offshore Oil Corp has also started operating its first offshore wind power project.
China, world’s 4th in wind power capacity
With total installed capacity of 12 million kilowatts, China has become the world’s fourth country in terms of wind power-installed capacity, an official said on Saturday in Beijing.
"Concerning wind power-installed capacity, China is next only to the United States, France and Spain," Lu Yanchang, vice chairman of the China Science and Technology Association, made the above remarks at the fifth China Energy Strategy Forum.
Wind power has become a main force in China’s new energy development cause, said Lu, adding that the country had built more than 200 wind power plants as of 2008, with 12.8 billion kwh electricity generated.
North Inner Mongolia and Hebei have exploited wind energy earlier than other regions on the Chinese mainland.
Inner Mongolia, covering 1.18 million square kilometers, boasts 100 million kilowatts of wind energy resources, with enormous white turbines standing high to capture the strong winds from the heartland of Mongolia and Siberia.
The region is striving to increase installed capacity of wind power to more than 10 million kilowatts in 2010, almost half of that of the country’s largest hydropower project at the Three Gorges, said Ya Saning, director of the region’s economic commission.
Hebei Province will also construct wind power plants with an installed capacity of more than 10 million kilowatts as of 2020, said Zhao Weidong, an official with the provincial Commission of Development and Reform.
Vestas plans to exploit China’s wind power boom
Vestas, the world’s biggest wind power equipment producer, plans to produce 800 of its new V60-850 kilowatt units per year at its new factory in Inner Mongolia once it goes into full operation in a year’s time, Lars Andersen, the company’s China president, said.
China is massively expanding its wind power capacity, with more electricity expected to come from wind than nuclear power by 2020, and Vestas plans to exploit the boom.
"The whole product and the whole factory is specifically tailored for China’s wind conditions, road conditions and grid conditions," Andersen told reporters at a briefing in Beijing.
The V60 has longer blades that turn at a lower wind speed, and is designed to operate in a broad range of weather conditions, he said.
Inner Mongolia in northern China is by far the country’s leading region in terms of wind power. Its installed wind power capacity was 3 gigawatts in 2008 and is expected to reach 5 gigawatts by 2010, Xinhua news agency quoted Zhao Shuanglian, vice chairman of the region, as saying on Monday.
The region had 4,000 wind turbines, Xinhua said, meaning Vestas’ production of the new 850 kW model would add 20 percent to the number of existing local turbines.
Andersen said China would remain one of the top two wind power markets, along with the United States, and he was encouraged that China expected wind power capacity to hit 100 gigawatts by 2020, up eightfold from 2008. There was no reason why China could not raise total wind power capacity to around 20 percent of the total, the same as in Vestas’ home base of Denmark, he said.
China’s wind-power boom to outpace nuclear by 2020
China will have 100 gigawatts of wind-power capacity by 2020, a senior energy official said, more than three times the 30 GW target the government laid down in an energy strategy drawn up just 18 months ago.
"Installed wind-power capacity is expected to reach 100 million kilowatts in 2020. That will be eight times more than in 2008," Fang Junshi, head of the coal department of the National Energy Administration, told a Coaltrans conference in Beijing. "The annual growth rate will be about 20 percent."
Fang’s remarks confirm what industry experts have long maintained — wind power has the potential to take a much bigger share of China’s power mix than the government had planned.
China, the world’s second-largest energy user, has around 12 GW of wind-power capacity and has already said it wants to raise that to around 20 GW by next year, suggesting it was on course to smash the 2020 target, which was set in 2007.
That means wind is set to be a bigger source of power than nuclear, despite a construction boom in nuclear power plants, and far bigger than solar, which is expected to hit 1.8 GW by 2020, according to the 2007 plan.
Suppliers to China’s wind sector include China Wind Systems, China High, Hansen Transmissions, Siemens, Vestas, Suzlon and local leader Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd.
The original 2020 target for nuclear was set at 40 GW, but China is now aiming for 60 GW and officials have spoken of 70 GW. China had 9.1 GW of nuclear power capacity at the end of last year and is building 24 reactors with a further 25.4 GW. At least five more are planned but not yet approved for construction.
Both wind and nuclear have got a shot in the arm from the economic crisis, since China’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus plan promised more nuclear spending and upgrades to the power grid, which should help stranded wind farms get connected.
Coal will continue to dominate China’s power mix, although it is likely to slip from its 80 percent share.
China was aiming at 1,400-1,500 GW total capacity by 2020, Fang said. Hydropower would account for 300 GW, while coal-fired power capacity would need to reach 900-1,000 GW to ensure a supply-demand balance of energy.
That meant China’s annual coal demand would increase by 600 million tons to 3.4 billion tons, he said.
The economic slowdown has cut power consumption in China and a new fuel pricing regime has stopped some of the oil price slump filtering straight through to pump prices.
Since China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has kept growing, although at a much reduced rate, the overall energy intensity of the economy could show a sharp decline.
"It’s very likely that China will be able to achieve the goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent by the end of the eleventh five-year plan (in 2010)," said Fang.
Xi’an to build giant wind power facility R&D center
China Northern Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation would invest another six billion yuan ($877 million) in Xi’an to build the country’s largest wind power facility research center.
According to an agreement between the company and the municipal government of Xi’an of Shaanxi Province in North China, four billion yuan will be invested first in six wind power product manufacturing projects, which are scheduled to be completed in 2011.
The second phase involves an investment of two billion yuan to build railway transportation and develop wind power system by 2015, according to the agreement.
The company has invested one billion yuan and developed six projects in the city since 2000, said the company.
Wind power capacity likely to rise 64% this year
Installed capacity in China’s wind power sector will grow 64 percent this year to 20 million kilowatts, organizers of the 3rd China (Shanghai) International Wind Energy Exhibition and Symposium 2009 forecast.
MW wind turbines set to power nation’s energy needs
Five leading wind turbine manufacturers in China have made a breakthrough in the development of MW-level wind turbines, giving a strong push for the development of the country’s wind power industry, a senior energy research official said yesterday.
Han Wenke, director-general of the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, told China Daily that the breakthrough would help the nation to commercially produce MW-level wind turbines with self-owned intellectual property rights.
Mass-production of such wind turbines will substantially reduce the cost and also enhance Chinese wind turbine producers’ capacity to compete in the international market in the future, he said.
The Energy Research Institute provides assistance to the National Energy Administration for the China Renewable Energy Scale-up Program implementation jointly funded by the Chinese government, the World Bank and Global Environmental Facility.
The program, granted $7 million to the five enterprises in the second half of last year, including Goldwind Science and Technology Co Ltd, Zhejiang Windey Wind Generating Engineering Co Ltd, Sinovel Wind Co Ltd, Shanghai Electric and Dongfang Steam Turbine Works. The five also invested more than 80 percent of the money for design and development of MW-level wind turbines, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 3 MW.
The 3-MW wind turbine developed by Sinovel Wind is the country’s first large-type wind turbine for offshore wind power generation and the first unit had been installed last month at the Shanghai East Sea Bridge Wind Farm. The wind farm is designed to install a total of 34 such turbines with a total capacity of 102 MW. The 2.36-billion-yuan wind power project is expected to be ready by 2010.
Renewable energy resources development is still high on the nation’s agenda, Han said.
With favorable policy support from the Chinese government, wind power has been witnessing a rapid development in recent years, with annual growth reaching over 100 percent in the past few years.
The country has immense potential to further develop wind power as the third wind resource assessment conduced by China Meteorological Administration estimates that total terrestrial wind energy resources at 10 meter height in the country could reach over 4.35 billion KW, of which technically explorable wind resources are about 300 million KW.
It is estimated that China’s wind power industry will continue its high growth momentum in the coming few years, with annual growth rate likely surpassing 60 percent.
Though a small amount of money, the $7 million grant for leading wind power producers plays a significant role in boosting the design and development of MW-level wind turbines with self-owned intellectual property rights, Han said.
To further promote development of the industry, the program has also started to support key components makers of wind turbines to research and develop market-demanded products.
With self-owned intellectual property rights, the Chinese-made wind turbines have at least a 20 percent price advantage in the world market, said Luo Zhihong, deputy executive director of the program management office, adding that some Chinese firms have already exported their wind turbine products to the United States, Britain, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
In addition to the financial support from the program, Chinese wind power turbine producers and wind farm investors also have financial support resources from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, Luo said.