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Testing potential in central China

A German wind developer says it will build a 19.2 MW wind farm in central China at Qiyue Shan, a hilly terrain near Lichuan, Hubeiand. The plans were revealed following the release of a study showing that potential for development in central areas of China could be as great as in the north and coastal regions.

German wind developer WindSolar AG says it will build a 19.2 MW wind farm in central China at Qiyue Shan, a hilly terrain near Lichuan, Hubeiand. It revealed its plans following the release of a study showing that potential for development in central areas of China could be as great as in the north and coastal regions. According to the study, by Wuhan Science and Technology Commission and Deutsche Windenergie-Institut, the mean annual wind speed in Qiyue Shan is around 6.5 m/s at a height of 40 metres. WindSolar, which co-financed the study, says it may add a further 50 MW to the planned project at a later date.

The details of the study and WindSolar's plan were revealed at a workshop organised by China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH. The aim of the workshop was to attract additional investors in the Lichuan project. The feasibility study puts total investment costs at $22.23 million for the wind farm, to consist of 32, 600 kW turbines.

The study says the cost of the electricity generated would be around CNY 0.95/kWh ($0.12/kWh), based on an annual operating cost of $450,000, an annual energy output of 32,735 MWh and interest payments of 15.2% over 15 years. The projected price, delegates said, is too high for China's grid operators to accept.

WindSolar is still expected to submit the project for approval by the State Development and Reform Commission soon, but Xiang Xiancheng of the Lichuan city government's energy office says the proposal should be modified first, particularly in terms of its cost calculations. "It may be up to international norms, but the Chinese conditions are unique," he says. The government's own study shows the grid feed-in price of electricity could be reduced to about CNY 0.58/kWh ($0.07/kWh), Xiang adds. If it can be modified, "We hope the project will be approved this year," he says.

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