China builds $17.6 billion wind project: report

HONG KONG Mon Jul 6, 2009 2:33am EDT

People walk on an overhead bridge in front of a shopping mall on a hazy day in Beijing, June 18, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Lee

People walk on an overhead bridge in front of a shopping mall on a hazy day in Beijing, June 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China will begin construction of a 120-billion yuan ($17.6 billion) wind power project in about two weeks in Gansu province as part of a major push to boost renewable energy and cut the nation's reliance on coal, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The project, also called "the Three Gorges Dam on the land" could be China's biggest wind power station, with an installed capacity of 20 GigaWatts (GW) by 2020, the report said, citing Wu Shengxue, deputy head of the Jiuquan Municipal Development and Reform Commission.

The wind project will be constructed in Jiuquan city, which has wind resources that could support wind farms with installed capacity of 40 GW.

Beijing is poised to raise its wind power capacity to 100 GW by 2020, or eight times the current level, as part of a stimulus package aimed at boosting renewable energy.

The threat of climate change is driving China -- a top greenhouse gas polluter -- to boost the use of renewable energy and restrain greenhouse gas emissions by power plants.

China relies on cheap but dirty coal for 80 percent of its power output.

($1=6.82 yuan)

(Reporting by Leonora Walet; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)