January 1, 2010

China To Become Third-Largest Windpower Producer

A government official said China will become the world's third-largest producer of electricity from wind by the end of the year as it taps more renewable sources of energy and reduces the use of polluting coal.

Shi Lishan, deputy director of new energy at the National Energy Administration, says the country's windpower capacity will reach 20,000 megawatts this year. In 2004, the capacity was 764 megawatts.

The world's largest polluting nation burns coal to produce about 80 percent of its power and wants at least 15 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.

China is the world's largest emitter of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at Mirae Asset Securities, says, "In the longer term, if China has the commitment, then wind power can be quite viable. The outlook for the industry would be very, very bright because the government appears to be behind it."

The United States had 25.2 gigawatts in installed capacity of wind power in 2008, or 20.8 percent of the world's total, compared with China's capacity of 12.2 gigawatts, figures from the Global Wind Energy Council showed.

At the end of last year, Spain had 16.8 gigawatts of installed wind power, the council said.

According to the World Wind Energy Report 2008, Global windpower capacity reached 121,188 megawatts last year.