China now is now the world’s largest wind power producer, with the country’s capacity ballooning by 62 per cent in 2010.
Its wind capacity rose to 16GW last year, putting it ahead of the US for the first time, according to a report in the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Li Junfeng, secretary general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, said China’s installed capacity reached 41.8GW at the end of last year, compared to 40.2GW in the US. China has set an even more ambitious target of 90GW by 2015.
Much off this, however, remains off-grid. The China Electricity Council said only 22.9GW was grid-connected in August last year, although there have been additional installations since then.
Many Chinese wind farms have been underutilised thanks to the challenges of grid connection. The intermittent power produced by wind turbines needs to be normalised at specially built substations before it can be fed into the network.
Chinese companies lead the world in solar manufacturing but most solar modules are destined for export, with relatively little capacity in the country itself. China’s domestic wind industry, by contrast, is growing rapidly.
A number of further large-scale projects are in the pipeline, including the 5GW Jiuquan project in Gansu Province, the 2GW Hami project in Xinjiang, a 2GW project at Kailu in Inner Mongolia and the 1.5GW Tongyu project in Jilin Province.
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