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China steps up wind power

CHINA'S wind power generation capacity is expected to grow 36 percent year on year by the end of this year, ranking it No. 2 in the world, Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, told an Expo forum in Nanjing yesterday.

The development of wind energy, including offshore wind turbine construction in Shanghai, is part of China's strategy to develop a low-carbon economy through clean energy, said Zhang who is also director of the National Energy Administration.

The capacity of China's non-fossil power system, including wind, solar and nuclear, accounted for 7.8 percent of total national energy capacity in 2009.

The government has promised to lift the proportion to 15 percent by 2020, Zhang told the Environmental Protection and Urban Responsibilities forum.

"We have to change the consumption structure to develop new energy sectors and it will bring people better living conditions," Zhang said.

The development thrust toward new energy, including wind power, will help China cut carbon emissions and protect the environment, experts said.

The country's wind power generation capacity is expected to hit 30 million kilowatts this year. The figure was 22 million kilowatts last year, ranking it the world's No. 3, Zhang added.

Firms have found a way into the potential market through self-innovation and identifying ideal locations like coastal regions.

Shanghai has the nation's first offshore wind power project with a capacity of 102 megawatts at the Donghai Bridge offshore wind farm. It will meet the needs of more than 200,000 households in Shanghai when fully operational. It is also the first offshore wind farm outside Europe.

Shanghai Electric recently completed building the 3.6-megawatt offshore wind turbine, the country's biggest. The turbine has passed tests and power will start being transmitted to the grid in August.

The local firm expected its wind turbine sales business to generate revenue of 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) by 2011.


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