Wednesday, February 03, 2010

China and the Spirit of Ireland Proposal


China Could Meet Its
Entire Future Energy Needs
by Wind Alone

The recent "Spirit of Ireland" wind-hydro proposal was met with an underwhelming response and essentially was blown out of the water by many commentators. It is a piddlingly small proposal to one postulated for the whole of China. The difference is China is taking their proposal seriously!

A joint study by Harvard and Chinese research teams has shown that wind power alone has the potential to meet China’s entire electricity demands, not just for now, but projected growth all the way to 2030!!

The study showed that a network of turbines, operating at as little as 20% of rated capacity, could provide more than seven times China's current needs. This would be sufficient power for projected needs up to 2030. The projected cost of power generation was estimated at approximately 7.6 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour.

The study also showed that wind farms would only need to take up land areas of 0.5 million square kilometers, or land about three quarters of the size of State of Texas. The actual physical footprints of wind turbines would be much smaller, allowing the selected areas to remain agricultural in nature.

China would have to invest a whopping $900 billion dollars at current prices over the twenty-year period to 2030. But the scientists estimated that the figure, while very large, represented a reasonable investment for the estimated returns.

So pretty really - Just the kind of thing you would love in your back yard?

China is currently commissioning several coal fired power plants every single week of the year.

The model used for assessing China is flexible and could be used for assessing wind potential anywhere in the world.


1 comment:

Moiety said...

The total installed capacity in China is 700 GW. Assuming 5MW turbines that is 140000 turbines + approximately 40% of that power available for backup at any given time (+20% turbines and hydro-storage). That is before capacity factor (average in the States is 20%; some sites are good; others are not).

Also how many substations would be required and what kind of high voltage grid would be required. Not to mention the capacity losses in transmission averaging 9% for standard and ~50% for transmission to and from storage.

A monumental project to which nobody could supply that many turbines.