Wind Can Provide 24-50% of India and China’s Power Needs

by | Sep 14, 2009

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IndiawindcapacityIf India and China continue their forward momentum in renewable energy investments, wind energy may be able to supply up to 24 percent and 50 percent of their electricity needs, respectively, by 2030, according to two separate studies.

India may be able to generate almost five times more wind energy capacity than the government’s estimate by 2030, due to offshore wind resources, according to a study by the Global World Energy Council, reports Bloomberg News.

The study, Wind Energy Outlook 2009, also indicates that wind energy can provide up to 24 percent of India’s power needs by 2030, while creating 213,000 green jobs and cutting 5.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions.

Wind energy capacity may reach 241,000 megawatts (MW) in India, based on a best-case scenario, compared with the government’s forecast of 48,000 MW from 216 potential sites, according to the study, produced in partnership with the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association, according to Bloomberg News.

According to the report, 4,889 MW was added in the last three years, for a total installed capacity of 10.2 MW as of March 2009, up from 7.8 GW at the end of 2007.

India’s total installed capacity was 151,073 megawatts as of July 31, according to the Central Electricity Authority, and Indian companies added 222 megawatts of wind power capacity in the first four months of the year, started in April, according to Bloomberg News.

According to another recent study, China could also cut emissions by 30 percent and meet half of its power needs over the next two decades if it transitions to wind power, reports the Taragana blog.

The researchers also said wind could theoretically supply all of the China’s energy needs, although the study only provides figures for meeting half its needs, according to Taragana.

Coal currently supplies 80 percent of China’s electricity, and hundreds of coal-fired power plants are built every year to keep pace with demand; however, China plans to build seven large wind-power bases over the next decade, and already ranks fourth in the world in terms of installed capacity, at 12.2 gigawatts (GW) (12.2 billion watts), which is equivalent to the energy produced by two dozen average-sized coal-fired plants, according to the blog.

China trails only the U.S., Germany and Spain in installed capacity, but only 0.4 percent (or 3 GW) of its electricity is currently supplied by wind, according to the blog.

With a total of 25,369 MW in operation at the end of 2008, the U.S. pulled ahead of long-time leader Germany (23,902 MW) in both wind energy production and in cumulative  generating capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s Outlook 2009 report.

The U.S. is also the world’s largest market in terms of new installations with 8,545 MW added in 2008, ahead of China at 6,300 MW, according the AWEA study.

Justin Wu, a wind analyst at New Energy Finance, a London-based industry-research firm, told Taragana that connecting wind farms to national electric grids is very difficult and expensive, and the study does not take into account that to overcome this difficulty, power grids would need costly upgrades.

The researchers proposed that the country could produce 640 GW from wind farms, assuming they ran at 30 percent average capacity, but in China, most average about 23 to 24 percent capacity, according to the blog. At current prices, the study said the plan would require an investment of about $900 billion.

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