China boosting wind power capacity to cut CO2

Climate Change

In November last year, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that by 2025 he wanted to slash net greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter of their 2005 levels. At the same time, President Xi Jinping of China said CO2 emissions in China would peak around 2030, hopefully sooner. Xi said China would also its reliance on non-fossil fuel energy to around 20 percent by 2030.

The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest emitters of CO2. The targets reductions are part of a longer-range effort to reduce air pollution and slow global warming.

Clearing the skies over its smog-shrouded cities is one of China’s top priorities.

Brijing

CHINA SMOG. Photo courtesy: CFP

To reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired energy plants, China has become the world’s largest producer of wind power energy.

In 2014, China’s National Energy Administration said the amount of wind-generated energy connected to the country’s national grid had set a new record of more than 96 gigawatts. That’s more energy than the entire UK energy system produces from all sources (~71 gigawatts).

By industry estimates, one gigawatt of energy is enough to keep the lights on for a year in 800-thousand “average U.S. homes.”

China plans to expand existing wind farms in the high deserts of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region—a remote area in northwest China, along the ancient Silk Road. Xinjiang is one of seven areas China has targeted for wind power development.

Xinjiang

WIND TURBINES IN XINJIANG. Photo courtesy: CFP

The region’s Dabancheng wind farm is the largest in Asia. The gale force winds roaring down from Tianshan mountain peaks have blown trains off their tracks and toppled over trucks. That’s bad for the transport industry but it makes Xinjiang one of the best places on earth to harvest energy from the wind.

By some estimates, the Dabancheng wind turbines owned by the Xinjiang Tianfeng Wind Power Co., Ltd., can power all the households in the region’s capital, Urumqi.

URimu

URUMQI SKYLINE. Photo courtesy: CFP

China aims to more than double its current capacity to around 200 gigawatts by 2020.

By 2050, wind power could produce enough electricity to meet as much as 17 percent of China’s total domestic demand, according to a proposed road map published by China’s Energy Research Institute.

Source: Proposed road map of wind power development published by China’s Energy Research Institute.