A good news, bad news story about wind power in China. The Chinese government's growing romance with wind remains significantly unrequited. Many of the recently erected wind turbines remain "unplugged." Either there's no grid connection nearby or grid owners don't want the power for reasons that can only be speculated on. Good green intentions and investments are of little value without social consensus, matched infrastsructure, and market mechanisms in place. Is China just too big and complex to be serious with renewable power?
China's wind power generating capacity surged to 5.6 gigawatts by the end of last year, but over a quarter of it is still not connected to the grid because of bad planning, an industry expert said on Wednesday. Shi Pengfei, vice-president of the Chinese wind energy association, said capacity growth in 2008 is likely to speed up, with another 4 GW expected to be added by the booming industry.
This will bring the total amount of turbines erected by the end of this year to nearly 10 GW, or twice Beijing's official target for the end of the decade.
But because local governments are keen to jump on the renewable energy bandwagon as Beijing pushes greener growth, they are approving new wind farms without proper planning, Shi said.