Renewables Retreat: China Slaps Ban on New Wind Power Projects
Plenty of what Westerners know about the Middle Kingdom is more marvellous myth than solid fact. Fitting squarely within that category is the idea pedalled by wind worshippers that China is working at a furious pace to carpet itself with millions of these things.
In truth, instead of squandering billions on a technology that was abandoned around the time the rot set in for the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century, China has built a phenomenal capacity in hydro power; and is building nuclear and high-efficiency coal-fired plant in order to bring affordable and reliable power to the masses: at present, China is building a coal-fired plant every other day, with plans to export their electricity to power starved Germans.
Just like everywhere else, the wind industry in China overstated its case; claiming that its costs were far lower than those actually realised; and, conversely, claiming that capacity factors (ie the average amount of time a wind turbine can be expected to actually produce electricity) were much higher than the reality.
Then there is the kind of grid chaos that South Australians are acutely aware of when a whole State’s power supply is dictated by the vagaries of the weather. And it appears that it’s the inability of wind power generators to match their weather-driven output to consumers’ demands that has caused the Chinese government to slap a ban on new wind power projects in 6 of its Provinces.
New wind power projects banned in 6 regions
23 February 2017
The National Energy Administration (NEA) has issued red alerts, or the highest warning, in six provincial regions where new wind power projects will be prohibited this year, Securities Daily reported.
The six restricted regions include Heilongjiang, Jilin and Gansu provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.
In these regions, new construction approvals and access to grid connections will be put on hold, according to an official statement published on NEA’s official website Wednesday.
The three-tier warning system distinguishes the risk levels by green, orange and red and the NEA releases the results annually.
Large amounts of wind power were wasted in these regions last year, an industry analyst told the newspaper, adding that the NEA hopes to urge local governments to more actively solve the problem through administrative measures, which have active significance for the healthy development of the industry.
According to official data, last year the waste proportion of these regions were Gansu (43 percent), Xinjiang (38 percent), Jilin (30 percent), Inner Mongolia (21 percent), Heilongjiang (19 percent).
China had 149 million kilowatts of installed wind power capacity as of the end of 2016, with 19.3 million kilowatts added last year, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA).
Wind power facilities generated 241 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016, 4 percent of the country’s total electricity production, compared with 3.3 percent in 2015.
However, close to 50 billion kilowatt hours of wind power was wasted, up from 33.9 billion kilowatt hours a year earlier, due to distribution of wind resources and an imperfect grid system.
While China might be willing to sell you wind turbines and solar panels to wreck your country’s grid, it has no apparent desire to destroy its own. Chinese inscrutability, perhaps?