China wind power capacity growing

Vanes are lift onto a windmill at Beijing's first wind farm which starts installing wind turbine generators on the outskirts of Huailai, north China's Hebei province July 23, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s installed wind power generating capacity is expected to top 10 gigawatts (GW) by the end of this year and to exceed 20 GW in two years, far above government targets, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Beijing said in March that it had raised its target for installed wind power capacity to 10 GW in 2010 from a previous goal of 5 GW, as it seeks to increase the use of renewable energy.

Traditional power generators, new investors and even the State Grid Corp, the largest of China’s grid duopoly, have rushed into the booming clean energy sector amid record oil prices and soaring coal costs.

China will expedite the development of 1-GW level wind farms and build “the Three Gorges of wind power” in the Hosi Corridor, the coastal regions and Inner Mongolia, Zhou Xi’an, a department chief of the National Energy Leading Office, was quoted as saying in a industry conference on Wednesday.

The Three Gorges, the world’s largest hydropower plant, has 26 generators with 700 megawatts of capacity each. It will also add six underground units which will boost its total generating capacity to 22.5 GW.

China had 4.03 GW of wind power generating capacity as of late 2007, which accounted for less than 0.6 percent of the country’s total power generating ability. Nearly 80 percent of China’s capacity is fired by coal.

An additional 1.6 GW of wind power generators were still not connected to the grid because local governments were too keen to jump on the renewable energy bandwagon to conduct proper planning, a senior industry official said early this year.

Reporting by Jim Bai; editing by Jonathan Hopfner