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China ramping up its wind power capacity

Beijing, China — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 21 April 2011 – China is on track to install as much as 18GW of wind-power capacity this year, as the world’s second-biggest economy continues to diversify its energy resources.

Revealing this development, Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association officials expressed the hope that that much capacity will come online this year. Though ambitious, the build-up will be significantly smaller than the 25GW that went online last year.

If all goes well, says RenewableEnergyWorld.com, the country will end 2011 with a total of 58 GWs of installed capacity, moving ahead with plans to install as much as 150 to 230GW over the next decade. China already has the world’s largest installed wind capacity.

The new capacity will be state-built and financed, like much else in China. According to observers, five national power companies “’ China Power Investment Group, Guodian, Datant, Huanent and Huadian “’ will build the largest wind farms. So far, the largest of them is Datant’s 400MW farm in the Jiling province.

Overall, the country will invest US $764 per kW, or about US $764,000 per MW, of wind turbine capacity.  State banks will fund the developers behind the projects but some international banks and the World Bank will also provide financing.

The bulk of the new capacity will be onshore with just 100 MW earmarked for offshore capacity in the Guangzhou province in Eastern China.

The northeast provinces of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Gansu will likely host most of the new projects, deepening their geographical lead in the industry. The three provinces account for 80% of installed capacity, with Inner Mongolia taking up as much as one third.

When asked why China is putting so much money behind wind, Lingjuan says the technology is cheaper to develop than solar or biomass, where the collection of raw material is very challenging in China. “Wind power is the most economically feasible technology that can be developed on a large scale,” she adds.

Wind is likely to lead China’s renewable energy agenda.  The country hopes to derive 15% of its power generation from clean energy by 2020.