China Targets 1,000 GW Wind by 2050, Even With ‘Slowdown’

The Chinese government’s latest five-year roadmap for renewable energy shows continued growth in the wind sector, with 100 GW of projects likely to be developed through 2015 — the amount of capacity developed world-wide in 2008.

And that’s during a “slowdown.” Compared to the breathtaking growth in installations between 2007 and 2009 in China, the 38% growth in 2010 was a noticeable change. With Project developers in the country still facing quality control problems and grid interconnection roadblocks, and manufacturers seeing declining profits in a crowded market, there are plenty of on-the-ground challenges in China.

But strong government targets and a hunger for any energy sources available are pushing a steady increase in installations, making China a continued leader in the global wind market. The Chinese government projects that by 2050, the market will reach 1,000 GW of installed capacity and be worth $1.9 trillion. That would meet roughly 20% of electricity demand in the country.

That’s a staggering amount of wind development. China and the U.S., the number one and number two wind markets in the world respectively, both have installed capacity in the mid 40-GW range. But while the U.S. has only state-level targets that run through the mid-2020’s, China is looking 25 years further and projecting an installation of more than 20 times that amount.

And by 2020, Chinese officials say wind will be competitive with coal there — an economic cross-over of absolute necessity, considering the baffling amount of coal being consumed in China.

In addition to wind, China may see up to 5 GW of solar-photovoltaic installations through 2015, and 20 GW of installs through 2020.

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16 Responses to China Targets 1,000 GW Wind by 2050, Even With ‘Slowdown’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    China very wise is. They are about to solve the energy equation, making ventures much cheaper and reliable. China is about to manifest itself as the new super power. The rest of the world you are busy with polluting and busy paying high energy bills.

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    That is serious progress and I hope their effort doesn’t get distracted or diverted by having to play silly war games with the USA. That would be a loss for us all and the planet, ME

  3. Don says:

    “China may see up to 5 GW of solar-photovoltaic installations through 2015”

    Nope. The official target it 15 GW by 2015, and they’ll beat that easily.

  4. Don says:

    BTW, their 2011 install alone has jumped up to 1.8GW for just the year. This has come primarily from the 4th quarter.

    Look for at least 6GW to be installed in China in 2012.

  5. Mike says:

    Why are we letting the Chinese get ahead of the US on this? I’ll tell you why. The Chinese government isn’t controlled by an industry that is holding on for dear life, and that knows that for every dollar that goes to the development of alternative energy sources they are one step closer to losing their grip on the economy and the government. But what they don’t realize is that if they get out ahead of the game and invest in green technology and become part of the solution rather than the problem they can have a much longer and more lucrative future.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Trying to make some sense of all this, I found this ‘article’ on a LBNL prognosticating China’s electricity demands in 2050:
    It links to a rosy forecast about China’s wind generation potential. The problem is, of course, providing balancing agents, i.e., backup, for wind generation; that is a necessity.

    On the other hand the LBNL study seems to indicate a high penetration of NPPs (which seems more senisble to me anyway).

  7. john tucker says:

    That sounds really good. Hopefully the windmills will be manufactured as cleanly as possible and hooked to a improved grid.

    Basically as the theoretical life of a wind turbine is 20 (not yet demonstrated in large scale that I know of) years this means they will probably need to replace/install nearly 1000 GW between 2030 and 2050. Thats rather ambitious.

    China’s energy demand is growing at about just over 10 percent per year now. In January 2009 they passed the US for the first time in the number of cars sold too. That market is growing about 45% per year now.

    (I know only happy thoughts) But God help us.

  8. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Yes. China is advancing in Wind in leaps and bounds. Just two days back I returned from China.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    Wind Energy Expert

  9. Yvan Dutil says:

    Hum, that level of wind extraction is likely to disrupt the wind circulation at least locally according to recent scientific literature. Also note, this is 1kW per Chinese, which will still represent only a small fraction of the energy consumption if they are to match the European standard.

  10. Start Loving says:

    Joseph, please forgive me if I missed it. Is this enough? Too much, too little? 1000 GW of Wind? Is 2050 too soon or too late in terms of China’s share?

    By not clearly specifying this – you suggest that it doesn’t really matter – we have as much time as we want, time isn’t an issue, number of GW by xxx time doesn’t matter.

    YES, if you did bring us such specifics, you open yourself up to debate, criticism, attack from the deniers. We’re at a point where such personal concerns can no longer have merit, or standing. It’s time for bold risks. They’re at War on us, and we’re still deciding if the risks of entering in opposition are too great!?!?

    Please consider this. If I can help, let me know. If you need others, get them.

    We need a benchmark – I strongly recommend Plan B 3.0, but if you have a better one, use it. But anything worth your writing about now, is worth taking out of the abstract, and putting into the concrete – as best as today’s science will let us estimate. The only things that matter are those that are enough, in time, or too little too late. WHAT ELSE MATTERS?

    Again, is 1000 GW by 2050 going to keep us under 400ppm, or not? If not, what would, in terms of China’s share?

    Please man, if you don’t step up to this, who will? In time?

  11. Joe Romm says:

    Well, this is just straight reporting. Not every post lays out the full story — else they’d be too long. What matters most for China is not the wind turbines they build but the coal plants, and there they still are on a climate-destroying path — or perhaps more accurately, climate-finishing-off path, since the West most certainly started us on this path to self-destruction.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    I think they just realized that renewable energy is the best way to go. This is also a requirement to keep people from rioting, over unrealiable energy or expensive. This happened on many ocasions throughout the world, especially in the arab world.

    And yes ofc it has todo with vested intrests, which are to lame to see the advantages, because they are controlled by an aged minority.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    And all the gimmicks we praise are manufactured over in china.

  14. David B. Benson says:

    After 3 tries to post a link to a LLNL news release, I give up.

  15. John McCormick says:


  16. David B. Benson says:

    Thank you.