Wind energy can become China's third major power supply by 2020, with an expected installed capacity of 40 million kilowatts, said an industrial report released on Sunday.
The capacity figure doubles that in a governmental plan in 2004.
The report, jointly released on the eve of the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference by the China Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), Greenpeace and the EuropeanWind Energy Association (EWEA), said the capacity can satisfy the power demand of 80 million people with an estimated production of 80 billion kwh.
It can also help reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 48 million tons annually in the country, said the report named "Wind Force 12 in China".
"Wind Force 12" is an annual blue book on the global development of wind power published by EWEA and Greenpeace. The blueprint said that the prosperous wind energy will supply 12 percent of the world's power demand by 2020.
Coal, hydropower and nuclear power currently make the three major power supplies in China.
The governmental goal for the development of wind energy as an alternative power supply is to reach an installed capacity of 20 million kilowatts by 2020, which was regarded too understated earlier this year.
The government, however, is considering lifting the goal, said Wu Guihui, deputy director of the energy resources bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Wu said that the commission has proposed, in its new plan for wind power development in the next 15 years, to raise the figure to 30 million kilowatts, but it has to pass the review of the State Council.
With 43 wind power stations, China had an installed capacity of only 760,000 kilowatts by the end of 2004. But the report said that the country is seeing rapid growth in this sector. The installed capacity rose 16.4, 21.1 and 34.7 percent annually in the previous three years.
The report also predicted that wind energy can take the place of hydro power and become the second major power supply by 2050 when its installed capacity is expected to reach 400 million kilowatts.
The implementation of the Law on Renewable Resources, which is scheduled to start on January 1, 2006, is expected to offer great momentum for the development of the country's wind power industry, said Greenpeace campaigner Yu Jie.
The growth of wind power in China, however, may be hindered by the high cost of the industry, as the country's wind power equipment has to mainly depend on import at present, said Wu.
Nevertheless, he said, the industry will surely gain substantial progress in China under the context of the country's endeavor in building an energy-saving, environmentally friendly society.
Wu said that the country supports wind energy technology development of domestic enterprises, while at the same time it welcomes investments from foreign technology.
He said that the huge Chinese market of the wind power industry is attractive to foreign investors.
EWEA chairman Arthouros Zervos said that his association and its Chinese partner CREIA are making efforts in pushing forward the development of wind power in China, and he hopes, as the report predicted, wind energy as an alternative power supply can have a bright future in the country.
(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2005)