China's wind power capacity could reach 10,000 megawatts by 2010, exceeding previous government targets, as the renewable energy industry continues to grow quickly.
The government had earlier raised its 2010 target to 8,000MW from 5,000MW. But as the industry expands, it could reach 10,000MW and may top 12,000MW or even 15,000MW by that time, according to a report issued Wednesday at the Wind Power Shanghai 2007 show.
China added 1,000MW in new wind power capacity for the first half of the year, bringing the total to 3,600MW, Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association told the conference.
"We estimate another 2,400 to 2,600MW could be added by the end of the year," Li said.
Today, Europe accounts for about 50 percent of the world's installed wind capacity, according to Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the World Wind Energy Council. But at the end of the next decade, China, Europe and the US may all have about the same capacity, Sawyer said.
The global wind power industry is growing at 20 percent per year and could basically double between now and 2010.
"We made the projections in March this year and we already think it's conservative," he said. "As oil gets more expensive and there is great concern about the climate, we think there is high-growth scenario (for the wind power industry)."
China's government has also set a 2020 wind power target of 30,000MW and has been mapping out preferential policies in the sector. Tariffs for wind power should not be a major problem when wind power is used more, Li said.
The cost of wind power generating is becoming lower as more of the equipment is manufactured while the costs for traditional generation will rise as the government insists on desulfurization units for coal-fired plants especially in big cities like Shanghai, Li said.
"So the gap between wind power tariffs and traditional power tariffs will be smaller. The main challenge is the utilization of the wind farms," Li said.
Shanghai's total installed wind power capacity has reached 24.4MW to date, according to Fang Yong, an energy department official at the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission.
The city, which is not particularly good site for wind farms, plans to have a combined wind capacity of between 200MW and 300MW in 2010, Fang said. A wind farm near Donghai Bridge, China's first offshore wind facility, will help meet the goal.