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Inner Mongolia is cranking up wind power generation

Wind power, once used only by herdsmen for cooking and lighting, will spread from remote cottages to the vast countryside in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

An official of the regional government said recently the wind power capacity of Inner Mongolia will reach 5 million kilowatts by 2010. Capacity was just 170,000kW in 2005.

"Wind power capacity reached 3 million kW in 2008 in Inner Mongolia, accounting for one-third of the country's total," said Zhao Shuanglian, vice chairman of the autonomous region, at a ceremony to mark the successful production of the region's first 850kW wind power generator in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.

There are about 4,000 large, three-blade turbines that generate electricity in Inner Mongolia, said Ya Saning, director of the region's economic commission. The turbines stand 70 meters high with blades about 30 meters long.

The enormous white turbines of Inner Mongolia capture the strong winds from the heartland of Mongolia and Siberia, according to Ya.

China's total wind power capacity increased from 400,000kW in 2001 to 10 million kW in 2008, 1.5 percent of country's total electricity capacity. It's the fifth highest in the world, according to a report of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Ya said Inner Mongolia is striving to construct wind power plants with a capacity of more than 10 million kW - almost half of that of the country's largest hydropower project at the Three Gorges.

North China's Hebei Province will also construct wind power plants with a capacity of more than 10 million kW by 2020, said Zhao Weidong, an official with the provincial Commission of Development and Reform, in March.

Inner Mongolia and Hebei are the first regions on the Chinese mainland to harness wind power.

"There are 16 companies producing wind power equipment in Inner Mongolia and five of them have started operation," said Zhao.

Wind power has become a main force in China's new energy development cause, said Lin Li, deputy director of the regional Science and Technology Bureau.


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