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Winds could change face of power generation
By Li Wenfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-18 06:03

GUANGZHOU: Wind turbines could generate enough electricity to power the southern city of Guanzhou, a Greenpeace report claimed yesterday.

By 2020, winds breezing through Guangdong could be producing 35,000 gigawatt hours of electricity 17 per cent of the province's total 2003 power consumption, and enough to match the provincial capital's yearly power demands.

The Greenpeace-commissioned report was carried out by Britain-based wind power consultancy company Garrad Hassan and Partners Ltd in co-operation with Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

With a long coastline and numerous islands, Guangdong could match Germany for wind-power generation, said Gao Hui, China project manager for Garrad Hassan.

The significant potential for developing wind energy in the province also comes from factors such as its rapid economic growth and favourable fund-raising environment, said Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the China Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Accounting for about one-tenth of China's economic volume, Guangdong posted 12.6 per cent economic growth in the first half of this year.

Government figures predict power consumption in Guangdong will grow by 15 per cent this year.

The province has been facing electricity shortages, with supply not expected to meet demand until 2007.

If Guangdong produces 20-gigawatts of wind-generated electricity annually by 2020, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 29 million tons each year, the report says.

Wind turbines could also provide sound returns to investors, said Yu Zhi, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

As wind costs nothing, investors could expect a return on their investment in about 12 years, with an investment return ratio of 8 to 10 per cent over the 20 year lifespan of the project, said Yu.

This compares well with the 6 to 8 per cent return ratio of fossil fuel and hydroelectric power projects, he added.

The risks in wind power projects, Yu said, lie in the availability of related technology, the quality of the turbines and natural disasters such as typhoons.

The pace of the development of wind power is also subject to government policies, including the pricing of wind-generated electricity.

Guangdong ranks fourth among Chinese provinces in terms of installed wind power capacity, says the report.

It had a total capacity of 86 megawatts, generated by three wind farms comprising a total 179 turbines, at the end of last year.

Guangdong has drafted its own target of 3,000 megawatts by 2020.

(China Daily 10/18/2005 page3)

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