China: Going with the wind



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International Finance Magazine

January 11, 2016: China has begun a new journey. The journey towards a greener future. And it is not surprising given the fact that the country emits 23.42% of global CO2 emissions as per a report by GermanWatch, a non-profit organisation based in Germany.

As part of a scheme to shift towards renewables, China — already one of the largest producers of wind power — plans further massive increases. It has set a target of 200GW by 2020, up from the current cumulative installation of 115GW. By contrast, the European Union countries together have just over 90GW of installed wind capacity.

A report by GlobalData, a research and consulting firm, stated that China’s installed wind capacity will increase from 115.6GW in 2014 to 347.2GW by 2025. Unlike other wind power giants like the UK, China’s capacity will be dominated by onshore wind, which is expected to account for over 96% of all installations or around 334.7GW in 2025.

Haibing Ma, China Program Manager at the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organisation based in Washington DC, says, “Being the largest energy user and GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emitter in the world, China is dedicated to transit its energy system towards sustainability. Among all the clean energy sources, wind seems to have the best potential.”  

The government has set renewable energy as a strategic priority and supports the push for wind through a system of subsidies. The crisis of air pollution in many cities has added further impetus to the push for renewable energy beyond the aims of energy security and lower carbon emissions.

According to Ma, as of 2014, China ranks No. 2 in the world after the United States in terms of annual electricity generated from wind source.