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China’s Wind Power

Gordon Feller, EcoWorld
The world’s most populous country harnesses wind to help power a burgeoning economy.
EcoWorld Editor’s Note: With 20% of the world’s population, China now consumes 10% of the world’s energy. This would suggest that just to come up to the international average, China will need to double its energy consumption. With an economy growing at 9% per year, China is on track to do just that, and consequently they are developing every source of energy they possibly can.

It’s important to remember the contribution from alternative energy to total world energy production is still minute. In China, a country that consumes 40 quadrillion BTU’s of energy per year, less than one percent comes from wind power. But wind-generated power, which is growing worldwide at 30% per year, and which costs 80% less per megawatt than it did 20 years ago, is an important part of China’s energy strategy. The world leader in wind energy is the nation of Denmark, whose wind manufacturers have forged strong ties with Chinese partners. Over 50% of the large capacity windmills currently installed in China are manufactured in Denmark.

Wind power, like solar power, is an alternative energy resource of virtually unlimited potential. After years of heavy subsidies, especially in Europe where the will to become energy independent has been unwavering, wind power is now economically competitive with conventional energy sources. This fact, combined with the energy security of windfarms that constitute a renewable domestic energy supply, suggest the Chinese committment to develop wind power is just beginning. – Ed Ring
By the end of 2004, China produced 200,000 off-grid wind turbine generators, ranking it number one in the world.

Chinese enterprises have mastered advanced off-grid wind turbine generator technology through technology transfer from foreign companies.

…China’s abundant inland and offshore wind energy resources provide potential for large-capacity, in-grid wind farms. By the end of 2005, China had built 59 wind farms with 1,854 wind turbine generators and a 1,266 megawatt in-grid wind power installed capacity, ranking it number ten globally.

Today, wind power in China is developing rapidly and receives particularly strong government support. The new Renewable Energy Law and its detailed incentive policies reflect the Chinese government’s intention to build up this industry. By 2020, China plans to have 30 gigawatts of wind power.
(no date)

China set to invest $200bn in renewable energy sector

Reuters, The Peninsular
China is set to spend $200bn on renewable energy over the next 15 years, and industry players are racing to grab a slice of the action.

That kind of money would buy you an oil firm the size of Chevron and leave change to fund the current renewables programmes of all Europe’s top oil firms for 25 years.

So from the arid plains of Xinjiang to the rolling hills of sub-tropical Guangdong, Chinese and foreign firms are erecting 40-storey wind turbines, installing solar panels, and conducting tests on corn for biofuel.

Beijing wants a tenth of its energy to come from environmentally friendly sources by 2010 – a desire driven by soaring air pollution and chronic environmental degradation that is swelling medical bills and provoking discontent.
(15 July 2006)

China: Natural gas discovery in sea

Xinhua, China Daily
China’s Ministry of Land and Resources has confirmed the discovery of huge natural gas reserves in South China Sea.

In a circular released on Thursday, the ministry announced the discovery of natural gas reserves exceeding 100 billion cubic meters in a prospect well named LW3-1-1.

It may be the largest offshore natural gas discovery ever made in China, said the ministry.

The discovery is also one of the several great oil and gas discoveries ever made in the first six months of 2006 around the world, said Ian Cross, vice president of International Petroleum Information, IHS, a famous global technological information provider.
(15 July 2006)
The quote from IHS’s Ian Cross is interesting. In past years they have been bearers of bad news regarding major oil discoveries. Last year according to IHS the world found only one barrel for every 6.5 consumed. So whatever improvements in discoveries the world almost certainly will not find as much oil as it consumes in 2006. I can’t find any recent announcements on the IHS website regarding this, so we’ll have to wait and see. -AF

OPEC: 07 Non-OPEC Oil Supply Seen Highest In Decades

Easy Bourse
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Monday substantially cut the implied need for its members’ crude next year, citing a gush of crude from non-OPEC producers that will be at its highest in decades.

In its monthly oil market report, OPEC cut the expected need for its crude next year by more than 2% – or almost 700,000 barrels a day – compared with this year, estimating that the world will need some 28.28 million b/d of OPEC crude.

That is in part due to a 3.3% rebound in non-OPEC oil flows, or 1.7 million b/d, which the group said was twice the average growth seen in the last six years “and one of the highest in several decades.”

It pinned this on a raft of exploration and production activity, a rebound in production from Russia and the Caspian, and the startup of large deepwater projects.
(17 July 2006)

Greenland makes oil companies melt

AFP, Financial Express
The remote oil fields of Greenland could become a new Eldorado for oil companies thanks to a spectacular rise in fossil fuel prices and uncertainty concerning future supplies, experts say.

Greenland will this week launch a new round of concessions for oil and gas exploration and officials expect record bidding.

“We have never known a level of interest for oil exploration like today, which makes us optimistic. Our dream of becoming a heavyweight energy producer could become reality one day,” Joern Skov Nielsen, division head of Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, told AFP.

Several US and European oil companies have bought seismic data collected in the Disko bay, which will be opened for exploration in the new round of concessions, said Nielsen. “That’s an unmistakable sign of interest,” he said.

After six test drillings in 1976, 1977 and 1990 failed to prove the potential for profitable exploitation, record oil prices are now key to unlocking the fuel potential of Greenland, which had previously scared off investors because of the high cost of accessing reserves in waters and land which are icebound for most of the year.
(17 July 2006)
Notoriously, US Geological Survey predicted in 2000, based on basic geological information, complex mathematical models and controversial statistical methods that the sea area east of Greenland likely contains as much recoverable oil as the North Sea. This appears to be the first time since the report that notable interest has been shown in the area. So while this may be another case of the sad irony of global warming opening up areas for exploration, results at this stage appear to be a fair way off. -AF