Todo lo que se necesita para impulsar la turbina es viento y éste abunda en Xinjiang.
La empresa china Goldwind de Xinjiang es uno de los mayores fabricantes de turbinas en China, y en el mundo. Hace diez años era una pequeña firma local, pero hoy en día vende sus productos en casi todo el país y en el extranjero. El crecimiento del mercado ha duplicado sus ventas. No obstante el negocio involucra grandes riesgos.
A pesar de ello, cada vez más inversores apuestan por el gran potencial eólico en Xinjiang. El órgano regulador local evalúa cada día un gran número de solicitudes de diferentes empresas. Allegados al sector piden una mayor regulación del mercado para el desarrollo estable del sector en la región.
China ha establecido precios de referencia para la energía eólica con el objetivo de estimular la rentabilidad de los emplazamientos que producen este tipo de energía. Esta medida se implanta en el marco del esfuerzo del país por utilizar más energías renovables.
La Comisión Nacional de Desarrollo y Reforma anunció que las tarifas en red se han establecido entre 0,075 y 0,09 dólares por kilovatio-hora en 4 categorías de las regiones que producen energía eólica. Los precios son más altos que los que se establecen bajo el sistema de oferta pública, que oscilan entre los 0,055 y los 0,073 dólares por kilovatio-hora.
La Comisión Nacional de Desarrollo y Reforma afirmó que el mecanismo antiguo no satisface los requisitos de gestión actuales, debido al rápido desarrollo del sector de la energía eólica china. El nuevo sistema podrá animar a los inversores a que desarrollen proyectos en áreas con una gran calidad de recursos eólicos.
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.
Xinjiang trying to turn wind into power
The Gobi Desert and its harsh weather conditions are best known in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for sandstorms and rocks. Now the local government and investors are trying to make use of the wind to help fuel the growing economy.
These giant windmills bring electricity to households, and profits to investors. Although one turbine costs more than a million US dollars, investors are eager to tap into the power of the wind. Operation costs are low and there are no green house gases.
Du Guangli, vice general manager of Huaneng Xinjiang Energy Dev’t Co., said, "Wind power constitutes nearly 10 percent of the total generation capacity our company is building in Xinjiang. We are also planning a wind power generation capacity of 1.1 megawatts in the region in the next few years."
All that’s needed to push the turbine is the wind, which has been considered excessive in Xinjiang. Workers here have been stuck in the room for up to a week before the wind eases up enough.
The wind is strong enough to derail a train. And now the local government wants to harness that power to drive the engine of the economy.
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Company (SZSE: 002202) is a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer based in Urumqi, Xinjiang. The company is the largest turbine manufacturer in China and one of the ten largest in the world.
Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd. specializes in R&D, product development and the manufacturing of large-sized wind turbines.
Goldwind’s high speed of growth is depending on the country’s policy and support, understanding and helping from all fields of the society as well as the open culture of enterprise and the mechanism to take the people as root. Goldwind has enjoyed annual 100% market share growth for the last 8 years consecutively. In 2007, Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd. reported that it has been holding 25.25% market share in China’s wind power market, again ranking top amongst other suppliers.
In 1998, newly established Xinfeng Scientific and Industrial Trade Co., Ltd. of Xinjiang undertook the national key scientific and technology project of the 9th Five-Year-Plan to develop 600kW wind power generating sets.
In 1999, the 600kW wind power generating set was successfully developed. In the year 2000, the company started the tough task of converting itself from an R&D-oriented enterprise to a market-oriented enterprise and trying to achieve a “zero” sales breakthrough.
In 2001, the company changed completely to Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd of Xinjiang. The new company was then authorized to undertake three national scientific and technological projects, namely the research and development of “MW stall-regulated wind power generating set and its key components, which is part of the “863” plan of the State, industrial production technology of 600kW wind power generating sets, and the development of 750kW wind power generator sets, both of which are key scientific and technology projects for the State’s 10th Five-Year-Plan. In 2002, after the establishment and commissioning of the modern large-sized wind power generating set assembly base, Goldwind got ready for an annual manufacturing capacity of 200 sets of 600kW-1MW wind power generators.
In 2003, Goldwind had grown into the largest developer and manufacturer of wind turbine generators in China. In 2005, the first 1.2MW wind power generating set was put into operation in the Dabancheng wind farm.
In 2006, Goldwind Wind Energy GmbH was registered and established in Germany. In February, Goldwind Science & Technology Creation Wind Power Equipment Co., Ltd was established in Beijing. In August, Goldwind won the tender for installation of 33 sets of 1.5MW WTG, a project for the Beijing Olympic Games. In 2006, Goldwind had captured 33% of the China market share, ranking No.1 domestically and the 10th in the world.
In 2007, the first batch of five 1.5MW WTG sets were put into operation in Dabancheng Wind Farm. On December 26th , Goldwind went public at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
By the end of Jan.2008, sales orders for Goldwind WTG had accumulated to 3,693 sets with a total capacity to generate 3,452.6 MW of electricity, and projects distributed throughout 18 provinces and regions in China. Goldwind has won market growth performance of over 100% for eight consecutive years.
By December 31, 2008, Goldwind sold 3,527 wind turbines totally, with a total cumulative capacity of 2894.1MW. In 2008, The wind power market maintained rapid growth in China, the company had sufficient orders. The company has not only a large number of orders of 1.5MW units, but 750kW units were still favored by the market. New orders of 1532.25MW were increased, including 750kW units for 804.75MW, and 1.5MW units for 727.50MW; By the end of 2008, the company implemented a total capacity of orders for 1541.25MW, including 750kW units for 170.25MW, and 1.5MW units for 1371MW. In addition, the company achieved a breakthrough in international sales to signed a supply agreement of 6 sets of 750kW units with ENERGOIMPORT company in Cuba and shipped them in December, it achieved a revenue of 33,223,700 RMB.
In addition to the signed orders, the company won the bid of 811.50 MW of the 10,000,000 kW Base Project in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, which has laid a good market foundation for continued development in next two years.
The first wind power project in the world to supply power to marine oil field; The first synchronization of integrated power grid realized between wind power and isolated island power; The first successful implementation in the world of wind power generator unit with global hoisting; The first on-the-sea installation of permanent-magnetic direct-drive generator unit in the world; China’s first marine wind power generator unit and first marine wind power project.
Models Below MW
600kW series wind turbine
750kW series wind turbine
Models Above MW
1500kW direct-drive series wind turbine
2500kW direct-drive wind turbine
3000kW first transmission permanent magnet wind turbine
5000kW series wind turbine
China To Set Price for Wind Power
China plans to set a price for energy produced from wind power projects, according to an announcement made by the government’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
This is a major development for the Chinese market which has up to now awarded wind projects through an open bidding process–resulting in fierce competition and uneconomical projects.
According to the NDRC, there will be four different pricing regions, ranging between RMB 0.51 – 0.61/kWh (US$0.075 – $0.089/kWh). The price is a substantial premium to wholesale electricity prices of about RMB 0.35 /kWh.
The pricing structure is scheduled to start August 1, 2009.
Details are scarce at this point, according to Scott McCollister, an analyst with Ardour Capital. However, he said the newly introduced pricing structure will play a significant role in the country meeting its renewable energy targets.
China is planning to increase its 2020 target of installed wind capacity to 100 -150 gigawatts (GW).
"We believe this new pricing structure will result in a fair competitive market giving Western producers greater opportunities to compete in China," McCollister said via e-mail.
Turbine producers who could benefit include Vestas, Gamesa, Nordex and Repower, all of which have established manufacturing facilities in China.
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.
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.”
Great Leap Forward for China’s Wind Energy
China has recently agreed to invest about $7 billion in new wind projects in Gansu, the arid northwest province with the most abundant wind resource. Nearly two dozen big Chinese power companies have committed to wind projects in Gansu, encouraged by massive low-interest loans from the state banks and various government subsidies.
Over the past few years, China’s wind sector has gotten increasing amounts of attention. In 2007, about 15% of all global wind investments occurred in China. In 2008, about $12 billion was invested in the Chinese wind power market, which by some estimates is now the world’s fastest-growing.
In 2005, China’s wind power capacity was 1.26 gigawatts. By the end of 2008, that figure had jumped to 12.21 GW, or about 1.5% of China’s total nameplate power generation capacity. By the end of 2010, China expects another 4 GW of wind capacity to come online. Since 2007, the government has raised the total wind power capacity target from the original planned 30 GW to 100 GW by 2020. In the government’s “New Energy Resource Stimulus Program” to be in place soon, the price model for the wind power from the government is very favorable to investments in wind. Multiple wind farms with a total capacity of 10 GW or more are to be built in Xinjiang, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Jiangsu, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces.
Moving even faster are the manufacturers – over 70 enterprises have started to make wind turbines and parts, more than double that in the rest of the world. To protect the domestic wind power equipment business, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has ruled that 70 percent of the equipment in any wind farm must be domestic. Imported equipment is subject to tariffs. This has been labeled by the international news media as “trade protectionism”.
Although currently there is excess electricity capacity and the power industry is losing money, and although wind electricity is more expensive than coal-fired electricity, the wind energy industry in China is still booming. Some companies put up the turbines as soon as a good wind source is located, just to occupy the spot for future development. Many local governments and power enterprises only seek the wind power capacity for political correctness without considering the availability of wind sources and the feasibility of land use. All of these are part and parcel of China’s constant desire to be liked by the rest of the world. If wind is fashionable everywhere else, one can bet it will boom in China.
But as usual there are problems. The national transmission power grid doesn’t have sufficient back up capacity to manage the intermittency of the wind. “Because wind energy is unstable, it is a pollutant and affects the safety of the power grid. The capacity of the transmission power grid is limited, not all of the wind power can be transmitted whenever a wind farm is built,” said Hu Xueha, the deputy chief engineer of China’s Power Grid Research Institute. Many wind farms are being built even though adequate transmission isn’t available. In January 2008 alone, some 300 gigawatt-hours of electricity was wasted due to insufficient transmission capacity. According to recent data from the China Power Union, only 72% (8.94 GW) of China’s total wind power capacity was connected to the grid. The result: a lot of wind turbines have been “sun bathing” — as the Chinese call it.
China’s problems with adequate transmission and back-up generation capacity are not unique. Similar problems are occurring in the US. Thus, while wind appears to be booming, it take some time – maybe a long time – before China’s wind sector becomes a financially sound business.