Wind Energy in China

cwea.jpgChina continues to have the highest wind power capacity in the world. In China, 23,369 MW of new wind power capacity was installed in 2016, increasing the accumulated capacity to 168,731 MW. Grid-connected capacity increased to 149,000 MW with the addition of 19,300 MW installed in 2016. This accounted for 9% of installed power capacity nationwide.

The average full-load-hour of wind power was 1,742 hours in 2016, an increase of 14 hours from 2015. Wind-generated electricity totaled 241 TWh, representing an increase of 29.4%. Wind-generated electricity accounted for 4% of the total electricity generation, an increase of 0.7% over 2015. Wind power remains the third largest generation source in China, following thermal and hydro-electricity sources. The average wind curtailment rate was 17%, an increase of 2% compared to 2015.

In 2016, the Chinese government considered wind power development an important tool to promote the energy revolution, to adjust the energy structure, and to enhance national energy security. The government issued a series of policies and regulations to promote the healthy development of wind power, known as the 13th Five-Year Plan for Wind Power Development. In addition, Chinese companies made progress in R&D including developments for wind energy in cold climates and in low wind speed areas.

Renewable Energy Targets

In 2016, the Chinese government released the 13th Five-Year Plan on Wind Power Development (2016-2020). This plan set several targets to promote the energy transition in China. First, new grid-connected wind power capacity will reach 79 GW during this five-year plan period. By the end of 2020, the installed wind power capacity will be 210 GW, and the installed offshore wind power capacity will total approximately 5 GW. Wind-generated electricity will reach 420 TWh, or 6% of the total electricity production.

Second, the 13th Five-Year Plan addresses the consumption of wind-generated electricity. By the end of 2020, the wind curtailment problem will be solved and the full-load hours in the northern regions of China will reach the minimum acquisition hours. Third, wind power equipment manufacturing and R&D capabilities will be improved. Three to five manufacturers are expected to reach an advanced international level with a significantly increased market share.

Policies Supporting Development

To promote the healthy development of the wind power industry, the Chinese government released the formal 13th Five-Year Plan in 2016. This will direct wind power market development and promote wind power integration and consumption.

The plan is a series of policies and regulations emphasizing centralized and distributed wind power development and optimizing the layout of wind power based on local consumption principles. It also stipulates that the eastern and southern regions with high consumption capacity should accelerate the construction of wind power.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) also announced a nonhydro renewable energy power generation quota evaluation system for thermal power plants. Per this quota, the electricity generated from non-hydro renewable energy in all thermal power plants will need to account for at least 15% of the thermal power generation in 2020.