• Is China Starting a Wind-Powered Revolution?

Portable/Field Testing

Is China Starting a Wind-Powered Revolution?

Sep 21 2016

China is known for its high coal production and similarly high coal consumption. It’s no surprise they have such a high energy output, with nearly 20% of the world’s population living there. However, there may have been something of a turning point in recent years. A green turning point. China has reportedly been moving towards wind power, but it isn’t as straight-forward as it seems.

Wind boom

China is reportedly building a huge amount of wind turbines. Two every hour, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It’s the biggest wind turbine production scheme ever and currently doubles the installation levels of the US – their main energy rival. The mass installation scheme of wind turbines has now fulfilled their increasing energy demand. Great news?

Mostly, but there is a bit of a problem. The issue comes from China building these wind turbines without the grid capacity to support them. It means they have the ability to produce enough energy to fulfil their needs, but not the capacity to transfer the energy. While they have been increasing efforts to harness green energy sources, China have also been continuing the expansion of their coal production facilities.

Too much energy

The result is an over-supply of energy. With their huge coal-production network taking priority use of the electrical grid, the new wind turbines are actually being switched off for about 15% of the time. It isn’t unusual for wind farms to be switched off sometimes, as they lack the ability to store energy. But with the average European wind farm production stopped around 2% of the time, China’s level is clearly unusual.

China’s solution comes in two parts. Firstly, they need to invest in their grid development with more construction and better technology. But they also need to begin to reduce their reliance on coal. If they insist on building new, more efficient coal plants, they need to shut down some of the older coal plants that are highly inefficient.

A range of energy sources

With constant enhancements in technology and research, we are discovering more and more ways to fulfil our energy requirements. It’s not just coal, gas and oil any more, but there is more to renewable energy than wind and solar. While these methods benefit the environment, they can also be hugely beneficial to the businesses that get involved. ‘Thriving in the Renewable Energy Economy’ explores the different methods of harnessing renewable energy and how they can be fruitful for those who embrace them.

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