Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hello china!

I've been reading a lot about China's wind energy lately. Articles like "Great leap forward for China's wind energy", "Why China is getting wind energy right", made me want to take a look at China's wind energy a bit closer. Although china was on the bottom end of the wind energy race about five years ago, today China is the second largest producer of wind power after United States. At the end of 2009, China accounted for about 25.1 Giga Watts (Source). Thats more than Three Gorges Dam (capacity: 22.5 GW). In 2009, the Asia giant, installed more wind turbines than all of Europe combined. Fascinating figures from Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) indicated that China installed 13 gigawatts of new wind power capacity, compared to 10 GW in Europe and 9.9 GW in the United States. No doubt that China will surpass U.S. and lead this race in wind energy by the end of this year.

Before we jump into China, lets look at just the basics of HOW wind energy works. So here is a neat little animation video of how it works.

Pictures speak a thousand words. 
This figure shows the wind and solar distribution. The darker the color, the more we can harness. So it is obvious that China has a huge potential for wind energy, and it plans to utilize all of it.(Source)

The map above was a study done by Harvard University and Tsinghua University researchers. They combined meteorological and wind-turbine modeling to map China’s wind-energy potential. The potential output of 1.5 MW wind turbines is shown as a percentage of maximum output over time. Credit: Michael McElroy, Harvard University (Source)

Just thought this was interesting. Small wind turbines lined up along the streets of Shanghai, China. It looks so green and clean. This just shows that China is planning to use wind to its full capacity, whether its huge wind farms or small wind turbines along the streets like the above picture. This made me imagine how it would be if my neighborhood streets had a line up of small wind turbines,or in Chicago, the windy city. (Source)

In the map above, you can see where all the major wind energy companies have installed huge wind farms all across the country. The big players like Goldwind, Vestas, GE Wind, Gamesa, and Suzlon are betting on wind power. Without a doubt, it is showing a promising future in China.

We can see the China's market share of all the major players in wind energy, where Sinovel, Goldwind, and Dongfang are leading the nation's wind power. (Source)
Just to get an idea, here you can see the annual wind capacity around the entire world. Some interesting facts from the article i read...
  • Wind power showed a growth rate of 31.7 %, the highest rate since 2001. 
  • The wind sector in 2009 had a turnover of 50 billion €.
  • The wind sector employed 550,000 people worldwide. In the year 2012, the wind industry is expected for the first time to offer 1 million jobs. 
  • Asia accounted for the largest share of new installations (40.4 %), followed by North America (28.4 %) and Europe fell back to the third place (27.3 %).
The figure for 2010 is a prediction since the report is from the end of 2009. (Source)

My opinion: Can China move forward with wind? They certainly can, and they will. But they are going to have to import foreign help, and they already have begun to do so. Denmarks's Vestas will open it's fifth factory in China this year, and according to the China Wind and Energy Association (CWEA), General Electric and A-Power have already signed letters of intent to provide 900 wind turbine gearboxes and establish a joint venture to build a wind turbine assembly facility. China, being the most populated country and being the most polluted countries in the world (followed by U.S.), has no choice but to move where the wind blows. For China, it is critical because safe and sustainable development cannot be attained without cleaning up its act. Major companies like Goldwind Science and Technology, Sinovel Windtec Co, Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica, Vestas Wind Systems, Dongfang Electric Corporation, GE Energy, and Suzlon Energy Limited are investing huge amounts of capital on Wind Power in China. I think that China will be leading the wind energy race next year. What do you think?
Interesting fact: A report release by state media in 2007 estimated that the average life expectancy of Chinese city traffic police is 43 years of age. The primary cause being air pollution. 

Some interesting facts about Wind Energy:

  • There is evidence that wind energy was used to propel boats along the Nile as early as 5000BC.
  • The earliest known windmills were in Persia (Iran) and looked like large paddle wheels.
  • In 200BC people in China and the Middle East used windmills to pump water and grind grain.
  • The largest wind turbine in the world is in Hawaii. It stands 20 stories high and has rotors the length of a football field.
  • Wind is the fastest growing energy source worldwide.
  • An average wind speed of 14mph is required to convert wind energy into electricity.
Ever wanted to be inside a wind turbine?


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