Wind power in China

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Wind farm in Xinjiang, China

China is the world leader in wind power generation, with the largest installed capacity of any nation[1] and continued rapid growth in new wind facilities.[2] With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind power resources:[3] it is estimated China has about 2,380 gigawatts (GW) of exploitable capacity on land and 200 GW on the sea.[4]

In 2016, China added 19.3 GW of wind power generation capacity[5] to reach a total capacity of 149 GW,[5] and generated 241 TWh of electricity, representing 4% of total national electricity consumption. Both China's installed capacity and new capacity in 2015 are the largest in the world by a wide margin, with the next largest market, the United States, adding 8.6 GW in 2015 and having an installed capacity of 74.4 GW.[6] Wind power in the United States has however a much higher capacity factor.

China is forecast to have 250 GW of wind capacity by 2020 as part of the government's pledge to produce 15 percent of all electricity from renewable resources by that year.[7] The Chinese government has set out a road map for wind power up to 2050. Wind power capacity goals are to reach 400 GW by 2030 and 1,000 GW by 2050.[8] China has identified wind power as a key growth component of the country's economy.[9] Researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030.[10] However, in practice, the use of wind energy in China has not always kept up with the remarkable construction of wind power capacity in the country;[11] in 2014, about one fifth of potential electricity was not used due to grid constraints.[12]

The largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer in China is Goldwind from Xinjiang province. Established in 1998, Goldwind aggressively developed new technology and expanded its market share, though this then decreased from 35% in 2006 to 19% in 2012.[13][14] The China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., another subsidiary of China Guodian Corporation, was an early pioneer in wind farm operation; at one point it operated 40% of the wind farms in China.[15]

Installed capacity

Panorama of Envision's wind farm in Shanxi, China
Wind power in China
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Capacity (MW)[16] 1,260 2,599 5,912 12,200 16,000 31,100 62,700 75,000 91,424 114,763 129,700 149,000 163,670[17]
Production (GWh)[18] 1,927 3,675 5,710 14,800 26,900 44,622 74,100 103,000[19] 134,900 153,400 186,300 241,000 305,700[20]


Wind turbine tower elements in an assembly facility in Liu'ao, Zhangpu County, Fujian
A Goldwind wind farm outside of Urumqi, Xinjiang
Wind power turbine towers in Liu'ao, near the "Abstract Art Gallery"

In 2005, the standing committee of the National People's Congress passed a law that requires Chinese power grid enterprises to purchase all the electricity produced by the renewable energy sector.[21]

Chinese developers unveiled the world’s first permanent Maglev wind turbine at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held in Beijing. The Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology company invested CN¥400 million in building the base for the maglev wind turbine generators, in which construction began in November 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan expects a yearly revenue of CN¥1.6 billion from the generators.

In 2006 the Shanghai Power Company purchased 64.485 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of green energy (primarily from wind farms), yet the amount of renewable energy which was subscribed by customers from Shanghai Power Company was only 23% of that total. In 2006 there were just 6,482 households in Shanghai that subscribed to renewable energy in part because the cost of wind power is 0.53 Yuan/kWh higher than power produced from coal plants; in 2007 total output of wind farms in Shanghai will total 100 GWh, which is sufficient to power 120,000 households. Though there were 22 entities that purchased renewable energy in Shanghai, though with the exception of 1/3 of that total being state owned enterprises, the remainder was foreign invested enterprises. Shanghai’s city government did not purchase any renewable energy. Of the top ten power customers in Shanghai, only Bao Steel purchased renewable energy; in 2006 Bao Steel entered into an agreement to purchase 1.2 GWh over three years.[22]

By the end of 2008, at least 15 Chinese companies were commercially producing wind turbines and several dozen more were producing components.[23] Turbine sizes of 1.5 MW to 3 MW became common. Leading wind power companies in China were Goldwind, Dongfang Electric, and Sinovel[24] along with most major foreign wind turbine manufacturers.[25] China also increased production of small-scale wind turbines to about 80,000 turbines in 2008. Through all these developments, the Chinese wind industry appeared unaffected by the global financial crisis, according to industry observers.[24]

China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide in 2010, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW at the end of the year. However, about a quarter of this capacity was not connected to the grid.[26]

In 2011, China put forth a plan to have 100 GW of grid-connected wind power capacity by the end of 2015 and to generate 190 terawatt-hours of wind power annually.[27] This target was reached in 2014,[28] making China the first country in the world to reach 100 GW of installed wind capacity.[29] As of 2014, Goldwind remains the largest competitor in the Chinese wind energy market, with a 19% share of new installations. It is followed by Guodian United Power Technology Company (a subsidiary of China Guodian Corporation) at 11%, and Mingyang Wind Power at 9%.[29]

Wind power by province

Wind power in China by province[30]
(autonomous region,
Newly installed capacity
(2017, MW)[1]
Cumulative capacity
(Year end 2017, MW)
production (GWh)
Curtailment (GWh) Curtailment (%) Productivity
(full-load hours)
Total 15,030 163,670 305,700 41,900 12% 1,948
Beijing 0 190 300 1,854
Tianjin 0 290 600 2,095
Hebei -70 11,810 26,300 2,030 7% 2,250
Shanxi 1,010 8,720 16,500 1,100 6% 1,992
Shandong 2,220 10,610 16,600 1,784
Inner Mongolia 1,130 26,700 55,100 9,500 15% 2,063
Liaoning 160 7,110 15,000 1,320 8% 2,142
Jilin 0 5,050 8,700 2,260 21% 1,721
Heilongjiang 90 5,700 10,800 1,750 14% 1,907
Shanghai 0 710 1,700 2,337
Jiangsu 950 6,560 12,000 1,987
Zhejiang 140 1,330 2,500 2,007
Anhui 400 2,170 4,100 2,006
Fujian 380 2,520 6,500 2,756
Jiangxi 610 1,690 3,100 1,995
Henan 1290 2,330 3,000 1,721
Hubei 520 2,530 4,800 2,098
Hunan 460 2,630 5,000 2,097
Chongqing 50 330 700 2,267
Sichuan 850 2,100 3,500 2,353
Shaanxi 1140 3,630 5,400 200 4% 1,893
Gansu 50 12,820 18,800 9,180 33% 1,469
Qinghai 930 1620 1,800 1,664
Ningxia 0 9,420 15,500 770 5% 1,650
Xinjiang 300 18,060 31,900 13,250 29% 1,750
Tibet -2 8 10 1,672
Guangdong 670 3,350 6,200 1,841
Guangxi 830 1500 2,500 2,280
Hainan 0 310 600 1,848
Guizhou 70 3,690 6,300 1,818
Yunnan 820 8,190 19,900 570 3% 2,484
1.^ Newly installed capacity calculated by subtracting cumulative installations reported in 2016[31]. Cumulative installations reported for Tibet and Hebei were lower in 2017 than in 2016.

Offshore wind

Donghai Bridge Wind Farm

China set an ambitious goal of 5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020. However, development of offshore wind power did not come as fast as expected. Construction of Donghai Bridge Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in China started in April 2009, close to Donghai Bridge, and commissioned in 2010 to provide electricity to the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The wind farm consists of 34 Sinovel 3 MW wind turbines at a cost of US$ 102 million.[3][32][33] The next is the 150 MW Longyuan Rudong Intertidal Wind Farm costing 500 million ¥, operational in 2012.[34][35][36] By the end of 2012, China had only installed 389.6 MW offshore wind capacity, still far from the target goal of 5 GW by the end of 2015.[37]

In May 2014, total capacity of offshore wind power in China was 565 MW,[38] which raised to about 900 MW in 2015, less than a fifth of the expected target.[39] Installations increased substantially in 2016, with 592 MW of offshore wind power capacity deployed, ranking third in the world behind Germany and the Netherlands.[40] By the end of 2016, the total cumulative offshore wind power capacity in the country was 1.9 GW.[41]

Offshore wind development slower pace in China is mainly due to the lack of experience of domestic turbine manufacturers in the sector. This forces local development to use foreign products, resulting in Siemens being the largest supplier of offshore wind turbines in China. Another problem is the huge investment needed and associated risks of offshore development, which discourage private companies.[39]

Future wind farms

The Gansu Wind Farm Project under construction in western Gansu province is one of six national wind power megaprojects approved by the Chinese government. It is expected to grow to 20,000 MW by 2020, at an estimated cost of 120 billion Chinese yuan ($17.5 billion). In 2008, construction began on a 750 kV AC power line to dispatch the electricity from the wind farm.[42]

When complete, the complex of wind farms at Gansu may become the world's largest collective wind farm.[43]


Areas with great wind power potential such as Gansu are sometimes far away from established industrial and residential centers. Coal-fired plants have a constituency of miners and local governments which wind-power projects lack. This has led to underutilization of the power produced by wind power.[44]

Transmission capacity of the grid hasn't kept up with the growth of China's wind farms. In 2009, only 72% (8.94 GW) of China’s total wind power capacity was connected to the grid.[45] In 2014, 96.37 GW of China's capacity was connected to the grid,[46] out of a total capacity of 114.6 GW.[29] In the first half of 2015, 1.75 TWh of wind power was wasted according to China's National Energy Administration. The slowdown in the Chinese economy in 2015 also led to overcapacity in the power sector, reducing demand.[47] In an effort to reduce excess power capacity and encourage greater utilization of renewables, the Chinese government halted approvals for construction of new coal power plants for the three-year period starting in 2016.[48] Combined curtailment of North China wind power was nearly 34 TWh in 2015.[49]

In 2014, the US generated more electricity from wind (167 TWh) despite a lower generating capacity because of China's connectivity and grid capacity problems.[50] According to a 2013 report in The Economist, the US produced 40% more energy from a similar capacity of wind power, because Chinese wind farms are not efficiently connected to the power grid.[51]

See also


  1. ^ Gang, Wu (28 October 2015). "Wind Matters: China's Role in the Future of Wind" (PDF). Goldwind. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "China's new wind power capacity hits record high - Xinhua |". Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  3. ^ a b Oceans of Opportunity: Harnessing Europe’s largest domestic energy resource pp. 18-19.
  4. ^ Wind provides 1.5% of China's electricity Wind Power Monthly, 5 December 2011
  5. ^ a b[dead link]
  6. ^ "U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2015 Market Report" (PDF). American Wind Energy Association. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Cusick,ClimateWire, Daniel. "China Blows Past the U.S. in Wind Power". Scientific American. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  8. ^ "China Wind Energy Development Roadmap 2050" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Gow, David (2009-02-03). "Wind power becomes Europe's fastest growing energy source". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  10. ^ "China Could Replace Coal with Wind". Archived from the original on October 15, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  11. ^ Andrews-Speed, Philip (November 2014). "China's Energy Policymaking Processes and Their Consequences". The National Bureau of Asian Research Energy Security Report. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Chinese wind earnings under pressure with fifth of farms idle". Shanghai/Hong Kong: Reuters UK. 2015-05-18. Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Lema, Adrian and Kristian Ruby, ”Between fragmented authoritarianism and policy coordination: Creating a Chinese market for wind energy”, Energy Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 7, July 2007
  15. ^ "Wind Energy Businesses in China". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Wind Electricity Installed Capacity". International Energy Statistics. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  17. ^ "2017 electric power industry summary statistics (Original title: 2017年全国电力工业统计数据". Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  18. ^ "Wind Electricity Net Generation". International Energy Statistics. EIA. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  19. ^ "Annual Statistics of China Power Industry 2012". China Electric Council. 
  20. ^ "2017 Power production stats (preliminary)". Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  21. ^ "Renewable Energy Law of the People's Republic of China". Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China. December 20, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Operation of quoting and bidding system in Shanghai power generation market" (PDF). 2003-09-12. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  23. ^ "Caprotti Federico (2009) China's Cleantech Landscape: The Renewable Energy Technology Paradox ''Sustainable Development Law & Policy '' Spring 2009: 6–10" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  24. ^ a b REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update p. 16.
  25. ^ Adrian Lema and K. Ruby, “Towards a policy model for climate change mitigation: China's experience with wind power development and lessons for developing countries”, Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol. 10, Issue 4.
  26. ^ McDermott, Mat. "One Quarter of China's Wind Power Still Not Connected to Electricity Grid" TreeHugger, 7 March 2011. Retrieved: 11 July 2012;
  27. ^ "China revises up 2015 renewable energy goals: report". Reuters. August 29, 2011. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b c
  30. ^ "2017 wind power installations and production by province; Original title: 2017年风电并网运行情况". National Energy Administration, translation via 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
  31. ^ "2016 wind power installations and production by province; Original title: 2016年风电并网运行情况". National Energy Administration, translation via January 26, 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
  32. ^ Xinhuanet news
  33. ^ Donghai Bridge (China) offshore wind farm 4C . Retrieved: 7 June 2012.
  34. ^ China's largest offshore project now online
  35. ^ Xinhuanet: Pilot project paves way for China's offshore wind power boom
  36. ^ Longyuan Rudong Intertidal (China) offshore wind farm 4C . Retrieved: 7 June 2012.
  37. ^ Windpower Monthly. China unable to archive 5GW offshore wind goal by 2015.
  38. ^ "Detailed appraisal of the offshore wind industry in China". The Carbon Trust. May 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  39. ^ a b "China set for a GW-scale offshore wind market in 2016 - Bloomberg New Energy Finance". Bloomberg New Energy Finance. 
  40. ^ "China Leads Global Wind Power Installation in 2016". Brink – The Edge of Risk. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  41. ^ "China Can Expect a Surge in Offshore Wind Farms, Goldwind Says". 11 January 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  42. ^ Peter Fairley. China's Potent Wind Potential Technology Review, September 14, 2009.
  43. ^ Watts, Jonathan & Huang, Cecily. Winds Of Change Blow Through China As Spending On Renewable Energy Soars, The Guardian, March 19, 2012, revised on March 20, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  44. ^ Javier C. Hernández (January 15, 2017). "It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  45. ^ Xina Xie; Michael Economides (July 30, 2009). "Great Leap Forward for China's Wind Energy". Energy Tribune. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Yu, Jie (December 28, 2015). "China's west tries to harness more of its wind power". China Dialogue. 
  48. ^ "China to Halt New Coal Mine Approvals Amid Pollution Fight". Bloomberg. December 29, 2015. 
  49. ^ 何珊. "Lots of wind power wasted: energy administration". Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ "The East is grey". The Economist. August 10, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 

External links

  • Chinese Wind Energy Association (Chinese)
  • China Wind Systems Announces Completion of Large Scale Manufacturing Facility for Wind Components
  • China wind power report 2007 (Greenpeace China)
  • China wind power capacity growing
  • China Wind Systems Begins Producing Forged Products at New Facility
  • China Outlines Clean Power Blueprint
  • World Wind Energy Association
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