Library from Asia
Vast wind farms have sprung up in the Gobi Desert. But in the bid to hit renewable targets, financial risks have been ignored, says Lu Zhenhua, winner of the "biggest impact" category in the China Environmental Press Awards. ...concerns about a national wind bubble are mounting. The losses visible in financial reports from Jiuquan's emerging wind-power network prove that, without state assistance or more preferential policies, limitless winds do not translate into limitless profits.
A senior government panel has drafted a plan calling for the establishment by 2020 of massive offshore wind farms capable of producing at least 1,000 megawatts of power, equivalent to the output of roughly 10 nuclear power plants, a source said Saturday.
After years of getting government incentives to install windmills, operators in Europe may have become their own worst enemy, reducing the total price paid for electricity in Germany, Europe's biggest power market, by as much as 5 billion euros some years, according to a study this week by Poeyry, a Helsinki-based industry consultant. ..."Wind is playing an important role in spot-price volatility because it's very difficult to predict when more power is coming on line," said Ruxandra Haradau-Doeser, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt.
Wind-energy advocates fear a recent decision by an international board overseeing the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) may have dealt a devastating blow to China's CDM process. Others worry that the damage inflicted by a CDM executive board decision March 26 in Bonn may stretch beyond China, perhaps upsetting the entire global carbon-credits exchange market.
The Maharashtra government will probe land deals by companies and individuals, who have set up windmills in various districts, following complaints that many of these transactions were illegal. The government has received complaints that land on which many of these windmills stand was bought at throwaway prices. Among those who have invested money in this sector are multinational companies and Bollywood actors.
"The overcapacity in manufacturing is caused by slower growth in wind-farm construction due to power-grid constraints," Dave Dai, an analyst with CLSA Asia Pacific Markets, said by telephone from Hong Kong. "The issues with the grid aren't expected to ease in the near term but should improve with the development of smart-grid investment over time."
Environmentalists worldwide have praised China as a leading harnesser of the wind for electricity, but a vice-minister says most of the ventures in the country were "vanity projects" - all for show. Miao Wei , of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, also said on Sunday that one particular project that is backed by the country's top economic planner would have a "fatal result" in five years because of the sand that came with the dry wind.
A fast expansion in wind power generation projects is not in accordance with China's reality, as sandstorms always go with wind, which would cause serious damage to the wind power equipment, said Miao Wei, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology
Inadequate research and lack of planning has led the industry to expand dramatically but at the expense of quality. Take turbine blades for example. About 70 percent of the blades in the market are 37.5 meters, which are not long enough to generate anticipated electricity levels, according to Xu. ...Radical expansion has brought another problem: makers of both turbines and parts have seen their profits slump in recent years.
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE) intends to embark on its first survey ever of possible health impairment caused by wind power generation in fiscal 2010. The reason is that residents in the vicinity of wind turbines have complained of ill physical effects.
Turbines used for wind power generation, pushed as a promising renewable energy source, will come under government scrutiny because of the possible impact on the health of residents. The Environment Ministry will conduct its first field survey of possible health hazards of wind turbines, covering all of more than 1,500 units in operation across the country.
China must strictly control the expansion of wind power equipment manufacturing and strengthen its testing and certification work to maintain the healthy development of its wind turbine manufacturing industry, said Shi Lishan, an official with the National Energy Administration, on Wednesday.
A group of Chinese power firms has expressed shock at a UN decision to reject 10 wind farm projects amid claims that Beijing fudged figures to qualify for financing under a UN carbon trading scheme. ...The Executive Board overseeing CDM projects refused to back the Chinese wind farms, saying they did not clearly show "additionality".
In Jiuquan, new coal-fired power plants with 13.6 million kilowatts of installed capacity - the same amount of energy generated by Chile in 2009 - will be added by 2020. The need to add baseload coal-fired power plants has the effect of reducing the clean benefits of wind power. But the local economic planner, Wang Jianxin, chairman of the Jiuquan Development and Reform Commission, says adding more polluting coal-fired power plants is unavoidable if you want to be green. "There's no such thing as a free lunch."
A United Nations climate panel on Friday blocked carbon financing for around 10 Chinese wind farms over concerns about whether they are financially viable without receiving carbon offsets, the panel said. ...The panel's decision on the Chinese wind farms could have serious implications for billions of dollars' worth of wind farm investment in China. The panel said it lacked sufficient information in support of the projects' claims of making additional emissions cuts.
China has received millions of dollars through the CDM, which allows industrialized economies to meet commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing countries to curb their own instead. But environmentalists say some Chinese wind and hydropower projects improperly receive foreign money while failing to show they would not be built anyway, a requirement known as "additionality."
Madakaripura villager Basavaraj's happiness knew no bounds when huge blades were transported to the top of a nearby hillock in 1997. It was here in Chitradurga district that Jindal Aluminium installed the district's first wind turbine generator (WTG). ...But, hopes for a brighter future faded. "Now, the fans are there, the blades are making a racket. The view from my village has changed, but nothing more," he says. The villagers continue using kerosene lamps at night.
Much is expected of wind power as a source of clean energy, but people living near wind power facilities are increasingly complaining of health problems. The low-frequency sound produced by the wind turbines at such facilities--sound that is difficult to discern with the naked ear--is suspected of causing such conditions as insomnia, tinnitus and hand tremors.
Some of China's leading large-scale wind power businesses have been lobbying the government to slow the growth of the industry because of alleged over-capacity They appeared to have won the debate in September when the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved a document from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and nine other ministries, stipulating the NDRC would hold back funding or approval for projects in industries with production overcapacity. Wind energy was among the industries listed.
A cold front swept across northern China's Inner Mongolia region in early November, forcing a wind energy farm at Xilin Gol to curtail operations - even as a brisk breeze whistled through idle turbine blades. "When that much wind is moving through, the generators can't make electricity," explained Ma Zhanxiang, vice president of the Inner Mongolia Electric Power Industry Association (EPIA). "Money just blows by." ...Inner Mongolia's situation is a clear example. Its installed capacity - 50 gigawatts -- is the country's largest, but the excess at wind farms has reached a crisis level. EPIA counts some 10 gigawatts in the region, including 3.49 gigawatts of wind power, as excess installed capacity.