Up-scaling small-scale wind in China

21-04-2010, Beijing, China

A new comprehensive roadmap study outlining out how China can support the small wind power (SWP) industry will be disseminated at a workshop during the China International Wind Energy Exhibition & Symposium (CWEE 2010) in Shanghai next week.

This study follows the earlier support by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) to develop a China wind energy roadmap in 2005, which has contributed to making the country a key wind energy market today.

The new SWP roadmap document looks specifically at how to promote the “micro” end of the wind power industry in China. Small-scale wind power - typically defined as an individual turbine producing 50kW or less - is most often used in remote off-grid areas, but increasingly it also offers on-grid opportunities in cities. China’s small wind power industry goes back to the 1970’s and 1980s, when small turbines were often used as a method of rural and decentralised electrification. This roadmap recommends a wide range of policy and strategy measures for building on this basis and accelerating both grid-connected and off-grid SWP applications.

These measures include special regulation for the grid connection of small wind turbines, a certification system for their manufacturers, and stimulation mechanisms such as the inclusion of small wind turbines on the list of agricultural machinery eligible for government incentives. The roadmap envisions different scenarios ranging from steady expansion to aggressive growth, resulting in a total installed small wind power capacity in China between 3 and 10 GW in 2020, at least a five-fold increase over today. In the end, the expansion of small wind power will improve living conditions in rural and underdeveloped areas, and bring down the cost of turbine manufacturing through increased scale.

This dissemination workshop caps off the year-long project funded by REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership) and implemented by the Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems Quality Test Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The roadmap will afterwards be officially presented as an input document to the Chinese National Energy Administration.

“The small wind power roadmap is really a 360-degree strategy, looking at all aspects of promoting small wind power, ranging from regulation and certification to capacity building in the industry itself, stimulation mechanisms to accelerate the take-up, metering to suit small wind, and the promotion of grid-connected SWP through pilot projects,” notes Li Junfeng, REEEP’s regional director for East Asia and Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, “and it actually builds on China’s comparatively early start in this industry. We’re happy that REEEP had the vision to support this initiative.”

“Following in the footsteps of REEEP’s support for the roadmaps for (large) wind power in China, this project is an example of working closely with local stakeholders to identify a need, and following up with a concrete project,” said Marianne Osterkorn, Director General of REEEP, “and we’re especially pleased to support a fast-growing nation like China in integrating renewables into its energy planning.”

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