Roadmap for small wind power in China

Background

The Chinese government has been encouraging the deployment of small wind power (SWP) technologies since the early 1980s, and is one of the few emerging economy governments to actively develop on this sector. Chinese companies have developed and own SWP solutions which does not require ideal wind conditions and have a much smaller footprint than traditional, large-scale wind power technology. SWP, like large wind power, provides benefits such as reduced GHG emissions, job creation and enhanced living standards in rural areas.
Despite these benefits, China’s SWP industry remained very small in relative terms, contributing les than 0.00129% to China’s GDP in 2007, and there was no comprehensive overview of the industry which could be used as a basis for further expansion. This project aimed to conduct a detailed study and evaluation of the potential of the SWP industry in China for both on-grid and off-grid applications, and make specific policy and strategy recommendations to the Chinese government to promote its growth.

Outcomes

The project team carried out studies of the Chinese and overseas SWP industries, conducted several site visits and then discussed the outcomes of this research during a workshop attended by industry stakeholders. It produced high-quality outputs, such as a roadmap for the development of SWP which was presented to the Chinese government. Unfortunately, despite the strong support of the National Energy Administration (NEA), the roadmap was not included in the China Energy Development Plan for the 12th Five Year Plan. The final Energy Development Plan only prescribed the development of large-scale wind power.
The roadmap estimated that there was potential for installing a capacity of up to 6,590 MW of SWP in China in the years following its publication in 2010. In 2014, the total installed capacity of SWP in China was just 343 MW, though it was expected to almost triple by 2020. China’s 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2010) includes the goal to “vigorously promote the use of solar water heaters, small wind power and other small energy facilities to achieve diversification of rural energy supply”.

The project implementer thought that the Chinese government decided not to support SWP because it deemed the capacity of SWP to be too low to make a dent in China’s enormous and growing demand for renewable energy, and because of the competition from ever-cheaper solar power systems which fill the same small-scale renewable energy niche.

The outputs of the project provide a very comprehensive overview of the SWP industry and define a clear set of national strategies and policies which could encourage industry growth. Though they are currently not being applied in China, these outputs are considered very good references for other Southeast-Asian countries with strong wind resources. The project also provided a solid foundation for further studies on the positioning of SWP in the renewable energy market, for example in combined solar-wind systems.

Related News

Programme sector: 

Renewable Energy (RE) (Policy&Regulation)

Stage of project: 

Completed

Location: 

CN/China

Duration: 

2009 - 2010

Budget: 

€ 100,000

Implementing agency: 

Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems Quality Test Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences

REEEP grant funded by:

United Kingdom

Norway