China desarrolla siete megacomplejos eólicos que totalizan 126 gigavatios

Los trabajadores empezarán a construir a mediados de julio el primer complejo eólico (estación de energía eólica la llaman) del nivel de 10.000 megavatios de China en la ciudad de Jiuquan en el extremo noroeste de la provincia de Gansu, dijo hoy un funcionario local.

La estación de energía eólica, que será la más grande, fue diseñada para que tenga una capacidad instalada de 5.160 megavatios para fines de 2010, 12.710 megavatios para fines de 2015 y 20.000 MW para fines de 2020, dijo Wu Shengxue, subjefe de la Comisión Municipal de Desarrollo y Reforma de Jiuquan.

"La capacidad instalada llegará finalmente a 40.000 megavatios", dijo. "Se calcula que los costos totales del proyecto superen los 120.000 millones de yuanes (17.600 millones de dólares USA)".

"Se convertirá en otro hito en la estrategia de ‘Desarrollo del Oeste’ de China luego de la Vía Férrea Qinghai-Tíbet y de varios proyectos de transmisión de Oeste a Este de gas natural, petróleo y electricidad", dijo.

Como un apoyo para la construcción de la estación de energía eólica, las autoridades locales emprenderán otros proyectos para manufacturar ventiladores, paletas de turbinas y otro equipo, dijo.

El gobierno de la remota provincia de Gansu tiene el objetivo de construir las "Tres Gargantas en la Tierra" con sus abundantes recursos de energía eólica, dijo Wu. Bajo su proyecto, la capacidad instalada en 2020 podría superar la capacidad actual de 18,2 millones de kilovatios generada por la Presa de las Tres Gargantas, la central hidroeléctrica más grande del mundo por su capacidad total.

En Jiuquan, un área de unos 10.000 kilómetros cuadrados podría desarrollarse para la generación de energía eólica con una capacidad de al menos 40 millones de kilovatios, dijo Wu.

Hasta la fecha, están en operación seis parques eólicos en la ciudad con una capacidad instalada total de 660.000 kilovatios, dijo.

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: 150.000 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.


China To Develop Seven Mega-Wind Power Complexes Totaling 126 Gigawatts

China is planning to build seven wind power complexes each with capacities of 10-gigawatts (GW) or more. The seven wind complexes have a planned total capacity of 126 GW and will be located in six provinces, including Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Jilin, Hebei and Jiangsu, according to SHI Pengfei, Director of Wind Energy Specialty Commission of China Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA).

Li Jianhua, Communist Party Chief of Jiuquan city, Gansu Province said that the city plans to pour some RMB500 billion into wind energy and equipment manufacturing. By 2010, the city is expected to have 5 million KW of wind power installed capacity and 10 million KW by 2015.

China will begin construction of a 120-billion yuan ($17.6 billion) wind power project in about two weeks in Gansu province as part of a major push to boost renewable energy and cut the nation’s reliance on coal, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The project, also called "the Three Gorges Dam on the land" could be China’s biggest wind power station, with an installed capacity of 20 GigaWatts (GW) by 2020, the report said, citing Wu Shengxue, deputy head of the Jiuquan Municipal Development and Reform Commission.

The wind project will be constructed in Jiuquan city, which has wind resources that could support wind farms with installed capacity of 40 GW.

Beijing is poised to raise its wind power capacity to 100 GW by 2020, or eight times the current level, as part of a stimulus package aimed at boosting renewable energy.

The threat of climate change is driving China — a top greenhouse gas polluter — to boost the use of renewable energy and restrain greenhouse gas emissions by power plants.

China relies on cheap but dirty coal for 80 percent of its power output.

($1=6.82 yuan).

Green Power Takes Root in the Chinese Desert

As the United States takes its first steps toward mandating that power companies generate more electricity from renewable sources, China already has a similar requirement and is investing billions to remake itself into a green energy superpower.

Through a combination of carrots and sticks, Beijing is starting to change how this country generates energy. Although coal remains the biggest energy source and is almost certain to stay that way, the rise of renewable energy, especially wind power, is helping to slow China’s steep growth in emissions of global warming gases.

While the House of Representatives approved a requirement last week that American utilities generate more of their power from renewable sources of energy, and the Senate will consider similar proposals over the summer, China imposed such a requirement almost two years ago.

This year China is on track to pass the United States as the world’s largest market for wind turbines — after doubling wind power capacity in each of the last four years. State-owned power companies are competing to see which can build solar plants fastest, though these projects are much smaller than the wind projects. And other green energy projects, like burning farm waste to generate electricity, are sprouting up.

This oasis town deep in the Gobi Desert along the famed Silk Road and the surrounding wilderness of beige sand dunes and vast gravel wastelands has become a center of China’s drive to lead the world in wind and solar energy.

A series of projects is under construction on the nearly lifeless plateau to the southeast of Dunhuang, including one of six immense wind power projects now being built around China, each with the capacity of more than 16 large coal-fired power plants.

Each of the six projects “totally dwarfs anything else, anywhere else in the world,” said Steve Sawyer, the secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council, an industry group in Brussels.

Some top Chinese regulators even worry that Beijing’s mandates are pushing companies too far too fast. The companies may be deliberately underbidding for the right to build new projects and then planning to go back to the government later and demand compensation once the projects lose money.

“The problem is we have so many stupid enterprises,” said Li Junfeng, who is the deputy director general for energy research at China’s top economic planning agency and the secretary general of the government-run Renewable Energy Industries Association.

HSBC predicts that China will invest more money in renewable energy and nuclear power between now and 2020 than in coal-fired and oil-fired electricity.

That does not mean that China will become a green giant overnight. For one thing, Chinese power consumption is expected to rise steadily over the next decade as 720 million rural Chinese begin acquiring the air-conditioners and other power-hungry amenities already common among China’s 606 million city dwellers.

As recently as the start of last year, the Chinese government’s target was to have 5,000 megawatts of wind power installed by the end of next year, or the equivalent of eight big coal-fired power plants, a tiny proportion of China’s energy usage and a pittance at a time when China was building close to two coal-fired plants a week.

But in March of last year, as power companies began accelerating construction of wind turbines, the government issued a forecast that 10,000 megawatts would actually be installed by the end of next year. And now, just 15 months later, with construction of coal-fired plants having slowed to one a week and still falling, it appears that China will have 30,000 megawatts of wind energy by the end of next year — which was previously the target for 2020, Mr. Li said.

A big impetus was the government’s requirement, issued in September 2007, that large power companies generate at least 3 percent of their electricity by the end of 2010 from renewable sources. The calculation excludes hydroelectric power, which already accounts for 21 percent of Chinese power, and nuclear power, which accounts for 1.1 percent.

Chinese companies must generate 8 percent of their power from renewable sources other than hydroelectric by the end of 2020.

The House bill in the United States resembles China’s approach in imposing a renewable energy standard on large electricity providers. But the details make it hard to compare standards. The House bill requires large electricity providers in the United States to derive at least 15 percent of their energy by 2020 from a combination of energy savings and renewable energy — including hydroelectric dams built since 1992.

Chinese power companies are eager to invest in renewable energy not just because of the government’s mandates, but because they are flush with cash and state-owned banks are eager to lend them more money. And there are few regulatory hurdles.

At the same time, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has temporarily banned three of the country’s five main power companies from building more coal-fired power plants, punishment for their failure to comply with environmental regulations at existing coal-fired plants. China’s renewable energy frenzy has been accelerating recently, especially in solar energy.

Last winter, winning bidders for three projects agreed to sell power to the national power grid for about 59 cents a kilowatt hour.

But this spring, when the government solicited offers to build and operate the 10-megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant here in Dunhuang, the lowest bid was just 10 cents a kilowatt hour — so low the government rejected it as likely to result in losses for whatever state-owned bank lent money to build it.

The winning bidder was China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company, an entirely state-owned business that bid 16 cents a kilowatt hour. (That was still far below last winter’s price, but a two-thirds drop in raw material costs because of the global financial crisis has started to drive down the cost of solar panels, the chief expense for the winning bidder.)

Zheng Shuangwei, the company’s general manager for northwest China, said that 22 or 23 cents would be more fair. The bid of 16 cents “is not a proper price,” he acknowledged. “It’s a bidding rate that is the result of competition.”

By comparison, the grid buys electricity from coal-fired power plants for 4 to 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Wind turbine rates have dropped to 7 cents from 10 cents over the last couple of years because of fierce competition and declining turbine costs.

The solar project still must go ahead, Mr. Zheng said, because China has limited coal reserves — 41 years at current rates of production — and the potential for hydroelectric power is leveling off as most eligible rivers have already been dammed.

But technical obstacles to renewable energy are popping up. Sandstorms in Dunhuang in the spring, for instance, will cover solar panels and render them useless until they are cleaned after each storm by squads of workers using feather brushes to avoid scratching the panels, a process expected to take two days.

And wind turbines are being built faster here than the national grid can erect high-voltage power lines to carry the electricity to cities elsewhere. On the windiest days, only half the power generated can be transmitted, said Min Deqing, a local renewable energy consultant.

Nonetheless, city officials are pushing for more projects.

“It’s the Gobi Desert,” said Wang Yu, the vice director of economic planning. “There’s not much other use for it.”

Future of clean energy is written on the wind

SHANGHAI is rich in clean green wind power and the city is constructing more and more windmills as part of a sustainable energy plan. Zhang Qian flips the switch. The sails of hundred-meter-high windmills rotate in the wind in the mudflats of suburban Shanghai. Row upon row of turbines with huge vanes are generating new clean electricity.

Shanghai is rich in sustainable wind resources and is increasing its wind energy capacity as part of an overall plan to reduce pollution and develop clean energy.

But wind generates only a tiny fraction of the city’s electricity. It cannot be stored and winds can be unpredictable, making reliance on wind unrealistic.

Still, wind is part of the green power mix.

By 2010, Shanghai plans to set up wind power plants with total capacity of 200,000 to 300,000 kilowatts – around 2 percent of installed capacity, according to Shanghai government’s "11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010)" on wind power. By 2020, it aims for 1 million kw, or around 5 percent of installed capacity.

Since 2003 several wind power installations have been set up in suburban Shanghai in Fengxian, Nanhui and Chongming.

A major wind power installation is under construction near Donghai Bridge, connecting Nanhui area and Yangshan in Zhejiang Province. With a capacity of 100,000kw, it is the first on-sea installation in China, according to Xinmin Evening News.

Siemens AG began construction of a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Lingang New City, Pudong New Area, in early June.

Three development zones in Minhang District signed contracts with 11 new wind energy-related companies on June 22. The three zones – Zizhu Science Park, Pujiang High-tech Park of Caohejing Development Zone and Xinzhuang Industrial Park – will all be used for new sustainable energy development, including wind.

China is developing sustainable and clean energy sources including wind, solar, geothermal, ocean wave and biomass.

China’s 11th Five-year Plan sets the goal of renewable energy consumption at 10 percent of total energy consumption by 2010.

Wind power, with zero emissions, low cost and solid technology, is one of the most popular renewable energy sources worldwide. The worldwide wind-energy capacity was 12.1 million kw in 2008, including 2.7 million kw added in 2008 alone, according to Wang Jing, deputy general manager of the Shanghai Electric Xantrex Power Electronics Co.

In 2008, China had the world’s fourth largest installed capacity of wind power.

Wind power has many advantages. Generating geothermal energy requires special geological features like volcanos and hot springs. The drawbacks of nuclear power and dangerous spent fuel are well known.

Solar power, though sustainable and clean, still costs a lot to install on a large scale compared with wind power, says Wang. The initial cost for installing wind power dropped to 2 US cents/kwh in 2007 in the US. The comparable cost for solar power was 50 US cents/kwh in 2008, he says.

Though hydroelectric power is the most widely used renewable energy source, shrinking water resources, especially in China, mean other sources are necessary.

"As long as there are big, steady winds and large depopulated areas, wind power fields and plants can be installed," says Wang.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Liaoning Province, Tibet Autonomous Region and coastal areas are all suitable for wind power.

There are around 25 wind power installations in China so far, most of them in coastal regions, Liaoning Province and eastern Inner Mongolia. There is not much in Tibet and Xinjiang due to the limited electricity grids there.

Shanghai is rich in wind, with estimated potential wind energy of around 4.7 million kw a year. The wind at 50 meters high averages almost 6.7 meters/second and there are around 7,300 hours of effective wind a year.

The Yangtze River mudflats are an ideal location for wind power installations, says Hu Chuanyu, senior engineer of the Shanghai Wind Turbine Co. He was involved in wind power programs in Chongming and Nanhui.

By 2015, around 500 square kilometers of mudflats will be used for wind power installations, says Hu. That would mean 3 million kw installed capacity (counting one, 6,000kw windmill per kilometer), says Hu.

Wind resources are even richer at sea areas, yet higher technology is required to build and maintain them.

Shanghai’s first wind power installation went up in 2003 near Hangzhou Bay in Fengxian District. It was comprised of four, 70-meter-high windmills with 26-meter-long vanes. Each has a capacity of 850kw.

In 2005, the city built 14 windmills of 1,500kw capacity each in Chongming and Nanhui (three in Chongming and 11 in Nanhui).

In 2007, 10 windmills of 1,500kw capacity each were built in Chongming and in 2008, 11 similar windmills were constructed in Fengxian District.

All the electricity generated by wind is sent directly to the major power grid.

Chongming Island (County) is an ideal site, says Xu Bin, chief of the Social Development Section of the Chongming Development and Reform Commission.

The island currently has 13 windmills that provide 43 million kwh annually, thus supplying the residential electricity needs of 84,000 people. This saves around 14,200 tons of coal, eliminating 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The only problem with wind is that even in coastal areas it can be unpredictable.

"Wind comes and goes as it likes. You cannot ask it to stay or leave according to your needs," says Wang, of the Shanghai Electric Xantrex Power Electronics Co.

It’s technically difficult to store wind energy, so it must be used as it’s generated, he says, as surges and drops in energy can damage the electricity grid.

Therefore, wind power represents only a small proportion of the city’s total power supply.

Though maintenance and operating costs are low for wind power, the air pollution problem means higher maintenance costs.

"It is ironic that when we shift to clean energy," says Wang, "we are still burdened by old pollution."