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Wind power now No.3 energy resource

2013-01-28 08:29 Global Times     Web Editor: qindexing comment

Wind power has surpassed nuclear power to become China's third largest energy resource, but the growth of the wind power industry has slowed, experts said at a seminar held over the weekend.

Wind-generated electricity in China amounted to 100.4 billion kilowatt-hours in 2012, accounting for 2 percent of the country's total electricity output last year, up from 1.5 percent in 2011, data from the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) showed Saturday.

The latest figure showed that China's use of wind power has surpassed its use of nuclear power, but still lags behind thermal power and hydropower, He Dexin, chairman of the association, said at the seminar held Saturday.

"This change is in accordance with the government's efforts to increase its use of renewable energy as a means to reduce carbon emissions and cut reliance on fossil fuels," Li Linghuan, an energy industry analyst at Shandong-based consultancy Sublime China Information, told the Global Times Sunday.

However, the country's development of wind power has slowed down, with 14 gigawatts of newly installed capacity from wind turbines in 2012, down from 20.66 gigawatts in 2011, according to He.

He noted that the industry is facing bottlenecks such as overcapacity of wind turbines, increasing trade protectionism, grid connection barriers and the wastage in wind power.

The CWEA estimates that the country's newly installed wind power capacity will rise to 18 gigawatts in 2013. Local governments have sped up approving wind power generation projects since the beginning of this year.

For instance, the Development and Reform Commission of Hunan Province on January 9 approved three wind power projects with a total investment of 1.35 billion yuan ($217 million).

One day later, China Datang Corp Renewable Power Co announced two wind power projects had been approved by authorities in Shandong Province and Chongqing.

"These newly built projects could help absorb some capacity of the wind turbines, but more wind power might be wasted in the future as it cannot be absorbed by grid operators," Li said.

China had 60.83 gigawatts of installed wind turbine capacity connected to the grid in 2012, according to the CWEA, and the country aims to increase it to 100 gigawatts by the end of 2015.

Curtailment, which refers to wind-power electricity that has been connected to the grid but held back by grid operators, is also a problem.

China's wind power sector lost about 20 billion kilowatt-hours to curtailment last year, according to the CWEA.

China Longyuan Power Group Corp, for one, lost 1.3 billion yuan to curtailment in 2012, Xie Changjun, the group's general manager, told a media briefing Thursday.

He from CWEA said further market-oriented reform is needed to ensure that more wind-generated electricity can be connected to the grid and transmitted to end-users.

"Grid companies lack economic incentives to take in more wind power, as government-dictated on-grid wholesale prices of wind power are higher than those of thermal power," said Meng Xian'gan, secretary-general of the China Renewable Energy Society.

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