In China, nothing is done on a small scale. The rate of growth and industrial development is staggering. Ancient villages are being replaced by rapidly-growing cities at a rate that is unbelievable. With 1.3 BILLION inhabitants, everything in China is huge. Just to provide perspective, there are 40 million children under the age of ten in China. That’s the same number as the entire population of Canada! Shanghai, the largest city in China, is double the size of New York, and its high-speed train travels twice the rate of speed that the U.S. version travels. Again, for perspective: that’s half the speed of an airplane.
Providing energy for this explosive growth, burgeoning industry and huge population is a constant concern for the people of China, and the people of the world. Increasing demand for fossil fuel from this nation is one of the factors causing rising energy costs worldwide, since China, like most developed nations, cannot meet its own energy demands. China imports crude oil from all around the world, but recognizes that this rate of consumption and growth cannot continue. As a nation, they are planning for the next generation of energy production: Wind power.
The Global Wind Energy Council says that China’s installed wind energy capacity could reach 122GW by 2020. The potential exploitable resource available is estimated at 1000 GW. Gigantic wind energy projects were constructed in Northern China in the past two years, with an estimated capacity of 1GW. Other projects are being developed in western provinces such as Gansu and Qinghai to meet the demand locally. These projects reflect a decision by the central government of China to make wind an important alternative to fossil fuels, a secure energy supply, and a way to combat greenhouse emissions.
Wind turbine manufacturers from around the world look at China as an important customer. GE, Gamesa, and Vestas are all investing in Chinese projects, as are domestic Chinese companies such as A Power Energy Generation (APWR), Nantong CASC, Repower North, Nordex, and Hunan Hara XEMC Windpower. Only GE, Vestas and APWR are listed in North America. APWR recently signed 50 wind turbine contracts and expects a total annual production capacity of 1.1 GW by 2009.