As a follow up to last week’s Five Friday Facts, this rendition focuses on China’s capacity to generate electricity from wind power. This week’s facts come from the Global Wind Energy Council.
- According to the third National Wind Energy Resources Census, China’s total exploitable capacity for both land-based and offshore wind energy is around 700-1,200 gigawatts (GW). As a point of reference, last week’s Five Friday Facts had this statistic: 50,000 megwatts (50 GW) is roughly the equivalent capacity of 50 coal-fired power plants. This would provide Texas with enough electricity to meet the demands of the state’s population, 24 million people. 700 gigawatts is 14 times as much energy, or enough energy to power more than 300 million homes (in the US).
- Compared to the other leading global wind power markets, China’s wind resources are closest to that of the United States, and greatly exceed resources in India, Germany or Spain.
- China’s wind market doubled every year between 2006 and 2009 in terms of total installed capacity, and it has been the largest annual market since 2009.
- In 2010, China overtook the United States as the country with the most installed wind energy capacity by adding 16,500 MW (provisional figure) over the course of the year, a 64% increase on 2009 in terms of cumulative capacity, reaching 42.3 GW in total.
- According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the growth in installed capacity was driven by a record level of investment in wind power in China, which exceeded USD 20 billion in 2009. In the third quarter of 2010, China’s investment in new wind power projects accounted for half of the global total. In addition, the Chinese government report “Development Planning of New Energy Industry” calculated that the cumulative installed capacity of China’s wind power will reach 200 GW by 2020 and generate 440 TWh of electricity annually, creating more than RMB 250 billion (EUR 28 billion/USD 38 billion) in revenue.\
Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art