China revs up wind power amid challenges

Jan 16, 2013 12:00 AM

As the world's largest wind power market, China continues to push forward with wind power installations, yet it faces ongoing problems with grid connection.

New wind power installations in China in 2012 brought the country's grid-connected capacity to more than 60 gigawatts, says the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

While a total of 100.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity was generated by wind power last year -- an increase of 35.5 percent over 2011 -- only 12.85 gigawatts was connected to the grid, compared to 2011's figure of 16 gigawatts

"In the past few years, wind farm development has been too rapid and grid construction has not been able to keep up. The huge gap put a lot of pressure on the grid," said Ma Jinru, vice-president and secretary of the board at Goldwind Group, one of China's biggest manufacturers of wind power equipment.

In a news release promoting a Shanghai wind power exposition, the deputy director general of China's National Energy Administration said that wind energy is China's third largest source of electricity.

"Wind power has become the third-largest electric power in China," Liu Qi said. "There is no electric power to substitute the position of wind power as number three, following thermal power and hydropower."

As part of the National Energy Administration's renewable energy development plan announced last August, China is aiming for 100 gigawatts of wind power to be connected to the grid by 2015, including 5 gigawatts of offshore wind power.

Improved grid construction and dispatching, enhanced equipment performance help the wind power sector reach to reach the 100 gigawatt goal, the news release states.

Also as part of the 2011-15 energy plan, State Grid Corp. of China will invest more than $80 billion to extend the ultra-high-voltage electricity transmission networks in North, Central and Eastern China, China Daily reports.

Meanwhile, China's wind sector face challenges following a U.S. decision to increase import duties on Chinese wind turbines.

In its final verdict in December on anti-dumping and counter-subsidy duties against wind turbine towers imported from China and Vietnam, the U.S. Department of Commerce said that Chinese producers dumped towers in the United States and set anti-dumping duties of 44.99-70.63

"With rates of duty like this, it's impossible for the products of Chinese wind tower manufacturers to enter the U.S. market," Zheng Kangsheng, secretary of the board of Titan Wind Energy (Suzhou) Co. was quoted as saying. "The company's U.S. market share will definitely decline sharply," he added.

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