photo by Michael Mooney
China may now officially be the world’s biggest emitter of CO2 but the economic expansion, fueled in large part by coal, that is causing all those greenhouse gas emissions is set to have a greater percentage of clean energy powering it in coming years.
China World’s 5th Largest in Wind Power
It may come as a surprise, considering the how much comes out about China’s environmental woes, but China has the fifth largest installed wind capacity in the world: just over 6 gigawatts. In the next two years this is planned to expand to 10 GW, though according to an article at Renewable Energy World the pace of expansion is so brisk that 2010 could bring 20-27 GW of installed capacity.
Inner Mongolia May Be Key to Growth
Though China is expanding capacity whereever it can, Inner Mongolia is the key. Though there is only 170 MW currently online in the region, a further 960 MW is under construction and approximately 4 GW in the planning stage. The kicker though is the region’s potential: estimates show that Inner Mongolia alone accounts for 40% of China’s total potential wind capacity.
For those who slept through Chinese geography (read: most of us in the developed world) Inner Mongolia is a 470 million square mile area, 12% of China’s total landmass, that forms the better part of China’s border with the country of Mongolia itself. It has a population of approximately 24 million people or 52 people per square mile, making it the fourth least populated region of China.
Such a large wind resource in such a sparsely developed and populated region could give China an advantage in exploiting this potential capacity compared to other top wind nations—Germany, the US, Spain and India round out the top five—who, apart from the US, have much higher population densities and more NIMBY-esque battles around the siting of large wind projects.
via :: Renewable Energy World, where a more complete run-down of Chinese wind power growth can be read
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