Power places - 5. Inner Mongolia

WORLDWIDE: The star of the old superpower has been edged out by that of the new. China and the US, rising star and old hand respectively, have extended their general macroeconomic power to become titans of the wind industry. In our top ten, China's leading region has prevailed - by a whisker.


Texas and Inner Mongolia rank equal fifth on our Power Places Factor, our ranking system that gives equal weight to total installed capacity and capacity per head. But it is Inner Mongolia's greater potential as a force in the wind sector that means it edges past the mighty Lone Star State and into fifth place, freezing the US out of top five altogether. Leaving all that aside, things are remarkably tight around the middle of our league - only a single point separates the Power Places factor of Inner Mongolia, in fifth, from that of Saxony-Anhalt in eighth place.
It should come as little surprise that Inner Mongolia is flying the flag for China. It has the largest installed wind power capacity of any Chinese province, and the second-largest of any Power Places contender region - a total of more than 9GW of capacity had been installed by the end of 2009.

Although Texas is number one in absolute terms, the fact that Inner Mongolia reached a similarly high capacity with a slightly smaller population pushes it into a ranking tie that it sneaks by on a tie-break.

The province has a fantastic wind resource. Wind mapping by GL Garrad Hassan reveals high wind speeds at 80 metres above ground level are available at numerous sites in the south and west of the province. Medium wind speeds are to be found at more sites across the region.
The windy climate coupled with the bullish determination of the quasi-communist Chinese government have endowed Inner Mongolia with a very impressive growth in wind power capacity in recent years. Certainly, in this region in particular, strong government policies have boosted wind development. The government of Inner Mongolia has put policies in place, incentivising investors to set up local production and to expand the supply chain within the province through reductions in value-added tax and tax exemptions for businesses. A wind power equipment manufacturing zone has been established in Baotou. Some of the very large wind bases planned by the Chinese government will be located in Inner Mongolia.

On a national level, the Chinese government introduced a tariff system across China in 2009, providing a preferential tariff to wind-generated electricity based on the relative windiness of the region. The south and west, as the windiest sites, are category one - and thus receive a lower tariff. The northern and eastern parts of the region are less windy and are classed as category two - these areas receive a higher tariff.

China's big problem is connectivity. Not all capacity in Inner Mongolia is online and in operation. Windpower Monthly's own information suggested that, across China as a whole, as much as 9GW - equivalent to all of Inner Mongolia - remains marooned from the grid. With the enormous amount of wind power being installed in Inner Mongolia, and in China in general, grid connection and integration of large amounts of wind power can be expected to be the main limiting factors for future development.

Inner Mongolia, China
- Feed-in tariff
- Regional government support
- Wind industry cluster
- Transmission shortage


  • Feed-in tariff
  • Regional government support
  • Wind industry cluster


  • Transmission shortage

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