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Source: www.asiaecon.org |

RENEWABLE ENERGY IN ASIA- CHINA EXPANDS WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT


From 2001 to 2007, China’s economy grew at an average of over 10% each year, and demand for energy increased at 13% per year. In order to meet this growing demand for energy, China has invested in several renewable energy sources such as hydro power and solar energy. Often overlooked is China’s investment in wind energy. While wind energy barely puts a dent into China’s total energy demand, technology in this sector is booming, and wind energy production has increased at a rapid rate over the past decade. China’s growing use of wind energy is representative of the boom of renewable energy in Asia.


From 2001 to 2007, China’s economy grew at an average of over 10% each year, and demand for energy increased at 13% per year. In order to meet this growing demand for energy, China has invested in several renewable energy sources such as hydro power and solar energy. Often overlooked is China’s investment in wind energy. While wind energy barely puts a dent into China’s total energy demand, technology in this sector is booming, and wind energy production has increased at a rapid rate over the past decade. China’s growing use of wind energy is representative of the boom of renewable energy in Asia.

In 2006, China consumed 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, second only to the United States. Oil accounts for 21% of China’s energy demand. Although most of China’s oil is used in industry, transportation has been playing a progressively more important role in driving petroleum demand. Many people are transitioning away from bicycles to private automobiles. By 2010, china is expected to have 90 times as many automobiles as it did in 1990. The growing number of motor vehicles accounts for 42% of the growth in oil consumption since 1995. The demand for Asia oil and gas is actually on the rise for many countries in Asia. However, many Asian countries have looked to invest in renewable energy.

Currently, China imports over half of its oil supplies from the Middle East. Asia oil and gas simply does not meet China’s growing demand. However, the rising demand has caused China to begin importing from Africa, who only holds about 9% of the world’s oil reserves as compared to the Middle East’s 62%. About one-third of China’s oil imports come from Africa. China has met stiff competition from the United States and other Western nations for Africa’s oil. Thus, to secure African oil imports, China has done two things.

First, it has cut deals with smaller, lower profile African countries like the Republic of Congo and Gabon. Secondly, it has offered integrated packages of aid to the larger oil producing countries. For example, China secured future oil imports from Angola by offering a $2 billion package of aid and loans. The package offers training for Angolan telecommunication workers and funds for infrastructure. Besides Africa, China has also imported oil from Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran.

To meet the growing demand for energy, China has invested heavily in wind energy, which is most available in Spring and Autumn. In 2006, China had installed 3,311 wind turbine units. Over 360 of these units have a capacity of 1 megawatt (MW) or above. At the end of 2006, China had a wind energy capacity of 2.67 gigawatts (GW), adding 1.3 GW in 2006 alone. Around this time, the government had set a goal of 5 GW capacity by 2010 in order to promote its renewable energy programs.

In 2007, China’s wind energy capacity increased much faster than expected, posting a growth of 95.2%. The 2010 goal of 5 GW capacity was met in 2007. In fact, China ended 2007 with about 6.05 GW capacity, and the 2010 goal has been revised to 10 GW. But even with this rapid increase, wind energy still accounted for less than 1% of China’s electricity needs in 2006.

In order to boost the development of wind energy production, the Chinese government conducted four rounds of wind concession tendering programs from 2003-2006. The government approved 11 major projects that have a combined capacity of 2.45 GW. All 11 projects are scheduled to be completed by 2009. Reports from the 2007 China International Wind Energy Exhibition maintained that 5% of Shanghai’s energy needs will be met by wind energy. This would be a huge step in China’s attempt to increase renewable energy resources in the country.

The three major wind energy companies are Gold Wind Science and Technology Co., Sinovel Wind Co., and Dongfang Steam Turbine Factory. Each company is not only increasing the number of wind turbines they put on the market but also researching technology to make wind turbines more efficient and powerful. Gold Wind Science and Technology was instrumental in establishing the research and development work for both the 600 kW wind turbine, the 750 kW turbine, and then the 1.2 MW direct drive turbine. Today the company is working to develop a 2.5 MW turbine.

Sinovel Wind currently produces about 300 turbines a year and plans to increase production to 1,000 units a year by 2010. The company is currently developing 3 MW and 5 MW turbines. The third major wind energy company is Dongfang Steam Turbine Factory.

In 2004, the company imported the technology necessary to develop the 1.5 MW turbine from the German company REpower and has built off of this technology to make further advancements in wind turbine efficiency. Working with wind turbine design companies in Europe, the company is developing the 2.5 MW turbine.

As wind energy companies expand and develop new technologies, wind energy will have the capacity to meet a greater proportion of China’s renewable energy demand. Wind energy technology has advanced quickly and continues to make generating wind energy more efficient. China’s increase in renewable energy is a crucial step in relieving the country of its dependence on Asia oil and gas energy.

Source: www.AsiaEcon.org

 

 

Source: www.asiaecon.org |


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