China Daily reports that Beijing plans to make offshore wind generation a significant part of its power generation network over the next couple of decades.
Sea winds could be harnessed to generate an estimated 750 gigawatts, although few projects were under way now, [vice-chairman of the Chinese Wind Energy Association] Shi said.
This would be around 70 percent higher than the country's total installed generating capacity at the end of 2004 and maybe three times the potential of onshore sites.
China aimed to have 20 gigawatts of wind-generating capacity installed by 2020, equivalent to around 1.0 percent of annual electricity consumption at that time, Shi said.
(Insert sound of screeching tires here) -- China plans to have a national electricity consumption footprint of 2 terawatts by 2020?!?!? That's roughly equivalent to total global electricity consumption now. Somebody get Amory Lovins to Beijing to help them understand the efficient use end of things, stat!
China had 1,675 TWh of generation capacity in 2002, the US 3,993 TWh. (Figures from the IEA.) The IEA forecasts that China will add 860 more Gwh of capacity by 2030, for a total of 2,535 TWh. So backing that down a bit for 2020, the 1% figure sounds about right.
Globally, the IEA forecasts that electricity demand will double from 2002 to 2030, with half of the new capacity required in developing countries.
World electricity generation is projected to rise from 16 074 TWh in 2002 to 21 657 TWh in 2030, growing at an average rate of 2.5% per year. The largest increase will be in China, which will raise production by 3 898 TWh from now to 2030, a quarter of the world’s projected increase. (World Energy Outlook 2004)Given the population differences, though (China is projected to have 1.5 billion people by 2030, the US, 364 million, China is still looking at electricity consumption per capita an order of magnitude less than the US.
What happens—even given an increasingly energy-efficient Chinese economy—when that begins to climb closer to US levels of consumption?
If China repeats the Western mistake of making its publically funded class fossil-fuel boosters and real-alternative-haters through large special taxes on retailed fossil-derived fuels, it will have no shortage of home-grown Lovinses.
If they don't then in 15 years they might have ... well not 2 TW. If it's one percent supplied by 20 GW of wind turbines, that would imply ~600 GW, supposing the wind turbines' capacity factor to be 30 percent.
---Graham Cowan, former hydrogen fan how individual mobility gains nuclear cachet