China is building wind energy farms faster than its grid can keep up. The Chinese wind power goal for 2010 was exceeded in 2008. Meanwhile the US is still arguing environmental policy. It’s sad when the greatest communist country in the world is outstripping the US in renewable energy.
According to Louis Schwarz at Renewable Energy World the Chinese have exceeded their wind power goals each year so they have to keep revising them upwards. For instance, in 2007 China set a goal of 30,000 MW in 2020. The new estimate is that China will have built 35,000 MW by the end of 2011. The new estimate for 2020 is 150,000 MW which they are expecting to reach much sooner.
There are seven regions in China that have their own individual wind power goals. Just one of those provinces, “Gansu Province has been installing an average of 40 MW per day!” One weeks worth of wind power installations equals the “equivalent of one 300-MW coal-fired power plant.”
The grid has not caught up with the increase in wind power, but the country will be putting more money into grid development in order to actually use all that energy.
As of last summer, China’s installed capacity of wind generation was 14,740 MW nationwide, 5000 MW of which was said not to be grid-connected; this level of wind power that is “dozing off” amounts to approximately 50 billion Yuan in capital investment (or ~$7.4 billion U.S.). At present the estimates are that 16,000 MW of wind power is now grid connected out of a total estimated installed capacity of at least 25,000 MW.
China may eventually be able to switch from coal power to wind power once its grid can keep up.
Meanwhile the US can’t seem to get legislation passed that will help us even begin to meet the achievements of China, Germany and other European countries that are increasing their percentage of renewable energy. It’s just flat out embarrassing.
Photo of Wind Power Generators, Dongfang by David Schroeter/Flickr