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China's first of 7 mega wind farms ready to start rolling
By Zhang Qi (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-07 07:55

China will start constructing a 10-gW wind farm in Jiuquan, Gansu province on Friday, the first in a batch of similar mega wind power projects the country has planned for over the next few years to increase the share of clean energy sources in its power consumption mix.

Wind power on-grid tariff has been fixed at 0.526 yuan per kWh for the first phase of 3.8 million kW by 2010, involving 19 power generating companies, Wang Jianxin, director of Jiuquan Development and Reform Commission told China Daily.

The province plans to expand its installed wind power capacity to 20 gW by 2020, surpassing even the 18.2-gW capacity of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower station in terms of total capacity.

China is making huge efforts to find alternatives to fossil fuels. The country just revised its wind power capacity target to 100 gW by 2020; eight times its current level.

 China's first of 7 mega wind farms ready to start rolling

A wind farm in Jiangsu province. China plans to build seven wind power bases with a minimum capacity of 10 gW each by 2020. Wang Bichun

"The Jiuquan wind power station is the first 10-gW wind power project approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, and is expected to have an installed capacity of 12.71 gW by 2015, with an investment of 120 billion yuan," he said.

The country's five leading power generating groups, China Huaneng Group, China Datang Group, China Guodian Group, China Huadian Group and China Power Investment Group, are all involved in wind farm projects. Huaneng has grabbed the lion's share of the market this time, with a capacity of 500,000 kW among the total 3.8-million kW in the first phase, he said.

Top domestic wind firms like turbine makers Sinovel Wind, Goldwind Science and Technology, and Dongfang Electric would benefit the most from the mega farm thrust, accounting for about 80 percent of the market in the first phase of the project, Wang said.

The market share of local and overseas turbine producers is about 50:50 in the existing wind farms of the city, he said.

The total installed capacity of wind farms that have already been in operation or under construction in Jiuquan stood at 1.25 million kW, he said.

The new wind power base, with an area of about 10,000 sq km, has wind potential with capacity to generate at least 40 gW, he said.

Jiuquan is just one of China's planned seven 10-gW wind power bases. The others are Hami in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Hebei province, western Jilin province, eastern Inner Mongolia, western Inner Mongolia, and Jiangsu province.

China's wind power generation has doubled over the past few years and the country plans to build a minimum of seven 10-gW wind power bases by 2020, Shi Pengfei, vice-president of Chinese Wind Energy Association said earlier last month.

"However, there is one key issue; most wind farms located in Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang are thousands of kilometers away from high energy demand areas," he said.

"So, how to build extra high-tension power lines to transfer the electricity is critical. Gansu is already kicking off power lines construction, but Xinjiang has yet to start," he said.

(China Daily 07/07/2009 page13)