China wind boom to continue in 2015, but grid reform needed: report



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chinadialogue

The boom in China’s wind production will continue this year as the country’s leaders try to reduce toxic smog in its largest cities, but lack of electricity market reform remains a major obstacle to displacing large amounts of coal from the energy mix, a major survey of the global wind energy sector said today.

The report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said that wind power now accounts for almost 3% of China’s electricity consumption, although just over 65% of the country’s power still comes from coal.

China last year installed 23GW of wind, reaching a cumulative total of 114.6GW, up over 25% from 2013, and is the first country in the world to pass the 100 GW mark in wind capacity. Figures from the country’s national energy authority show that just under 100GW of total capacity was connected to grids by the end of last year.

But with gas the most likely to displace coal in the shorter term, China will need to deliver root-and-branch reforms of its electricity market  and state-owned grids if wind is to replace large amounts of coal as a reliable source of power.