China Unplugs 25% of its Wind Turbines

A recent Reuters report had some good news and bad news about the growth of wind power in China. Although China's wind power generating capacity surged to 5.6 gigawatts by the end of 2007, more than a quarter of it is still not connected to the grid because of bad planning, said Shi Pengfei, vice-president of the Chinese wind energy association. Because local governments are keen to jump on the renewable energy bandwagon as Beijing pushes greener growth, Pengfei said they are approving new wind farms without proper planning. The Reuters report said only 4 gigawatts of the new capacity is actually connected to the grid, and even facilities that are linked up can face problems selling their power because output is so variable.

“The grid is not interested in wind power,” Shi told an industry conference in the Chinese capital. More wind power means more trouble for the grid.” Danish wind turbine maker Vestas said last year China could be the world's top wind power market in three to five years, but would grow even faster if it reformed a subsidy system that gives wind farms only a slender premium over coal.

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