China's Wind Speeds May Slow 12% Over The 21st Century

china wind farm photo

photo: Land Rover Our Planet/Creative Commons

In case you missed it--though how you could is somewhat beyond me--China has overtaken the United States in wind power installations, just beating out the US with an estimated 40,000 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2010. But according to new estimates of the effect that climate change may have on average wind speeds, China may be one of the places worst hit.The research was published in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, but IEEE Spectrum lays out the critical stats:

By the end of the 21st century, comparing the last three decades with the same time period at the end of the 20th century, China may see wind speeds decrease 4-12%--which could lower output from wind turbines by at least 14%.

Evidence of such slowing has already been documented: 1) In China average wind speeds on the Tibetan plateau and along the coast were recorded be studies in 2009 and 2010 as being lower than readings from half a century ago. 2) In northern midlatitudes as a whole, between 1978 and 2008 average wind speeds slowed 5-15% over "almost all continental areas."

Read more: IEEE Spectrum
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More on Wind Power:
China Now the World Leader in Wind Power
500 MW Chinese Wind Farm Begins Construction - To Be Completed 2010
Wind Power Could Supply All of China's Electricity by 2030

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