Wind Power Could Supply All of China's Electricity by 2030, Harvard Study Says


photo: Diego Silvestre via flickr

A new study coming out of Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Science shows that with the proper investment China could easily ditch its coal burning, carbon emitting ways and be entirely wind powered -- and all by 2030. What's more, the financial incentives to do so are already largely in place:The report, published in Science magazine, found that wind power could profitably supply all of China's projected electricity demand over the next 20 years if wind power producers received $0.076 per kilowatt-hour for the first ten years.

China already pays wind power producers $0.056-$0.08/kWh for the electricity they produce. Even wind-produced electricity received the very bottom of that range 23% of China's coal use could be replaced, the study found.

So what's this all going to cost? The study estimates that to install some 640 gigawatts of wind power over the next 20 years it would cost $900 billion -- which sounds like a lot, but is really a fraction of GDP.

Cost of Expanding Distribution Not Include
The catch here really is distribution. As Liming Qiao of the Global Wind Energy Council said over at Discovery News it's simplistic to ignore the fact that the costs of incorporating that much wind power into the grid will add expense -- a fact which the report authors concede, though they say that expense could well be incurred in any case, considering the amount of grid improvement already needed in China to accommodate expanding demand, regardless of power source.

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Tags: China | Electricity | Renewable Energy | Wind Power