Small countries think big as Chinese growth slows

ASIA PACIFIC: At the end of 2012, planned projects with sites acquired reached 47.7GW in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Windpower Intelligence.

Pakistan has good wind resources (photo:Nordex)
Pakistan has good wind resources (photo:Nordex)

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asia pacific biggest projects

China data shows a pipeline of projects totalling 32.6GW. The country is targeting 18GW new installations in 2013, said Liu Tienan, head of China's National Energy Bureau with annual installation planned to reach 20GW by 2015.

In this process, distributed wind farms feeding electric power to local users, totalling 30% of the 100GW target by 2015, and offshore wind power, reaching 5GW by 2015, will play greater roles, while China continues to develop large 10GW-level onshore wind power projects in northern areas.

India is expected to be a major growth point in Asia, despite the rate of installations dropping in 2012 due to policy changes and grid problems. But annual installations are expected to rise to 5GW by 2015 thanks to India's colossal demand for energy - 40% of the population has no access to electricity, and power cuts occur daily. Projects in the pipeline with sites acquired have reached over 2GW. Homegrown manufacturer Suzlon takes the top developer slot, with more than 600MW sites acquired. This is a trend common in India, with manufacturers developing and completing projects before selling on.

Offshore ambitions in Japan and Korea

Japan's pipeline projects with acquired sites had reached 213MW last year. The country is under pressure to commit to a future involving renewable energy, including wind, and offshore is expected to deliver most of this. Yet none of the projects being proposed have yet acquired a site.

Even the Fukushima floating turbine wind project of just under 1GW, run by an 11-company consortium led by import-export firm Marubeni Corporation, is hampered by delays due to a hold up in setting the tariffs for offshore wind, and therefore does not have a site confirmed yet.

South Korea will make major advances in offshore wind development in the next five years, particularly in 2014 and 2015, according to Li Junfeng, president of the China Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA).Pipeline projects amounted to 372MW in 2012.

Samsung Heavy Industries last year won an 84MW deal to build an offshore wind farm off an island near the country's south coast. It aims to bring the first of the 12 turbines online in 2015. The central government plans to construct 900MW offshore wind farms by 2016 and 1.5GW by 2019. The ultimate goal is to build 2.5GW of offshore wind projects. Local governments are planning to construct 4.5GW offshore wind projects.

South-east Asia slow to take off

Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand possess very good wind energy resources. They have announced some favourable policy frameworks promoting wind-power development, but actual progress has been restricted by domestic economic and investment environments.

Vietnam has the greatest development potential of the three countries, CREIA's Li said. In 2011, Vietnam established a fixed feed-in tariff for wind power, although it was fairly low. In 2012, pipeline projects stood at 333MW. Wind farm developers have encountered project financing problem, but the government has introduced preferential policies to attract investment to the wind-power industry.

Thailand also has a relatively sound policy framework for wind-power development, according to Li. But the wind resources are comparatively poor, with most regions suitable for wind-farm construction in low wind areas. The pipeline in 2012 was 338MW. Due to government support, Thailand is expecting a boom in wind-power development in the future.

The Philippines boasts sound wind-energy resources and the government set a feed-in tariff last year. Development is likely to take off in the next few years, with 2.1GW already in the pipeline in 2012. WQ

Australia set for wind boom

With just seven years to run on Australia's renewable energy target, the rate of installed wind capacity is picking up as utilities are forced to meet their increasing liabilities under the policy. In line with industry predictions, the number of pipeline projects has climbed to over 7GW, second only to China in the region.

Next year AGL Energy's 420MW Macarthur project will come online in Victoria, but there are larger projects in the wings, including AGL's 1GW Silverton in New South Wales and Origin Energy's 547MW Stockyard Hill in Victoria. These projects gained planning approval before current strict planning guidelines were introduced at the state government level.

After several lean years, the renewable energy certificate market in Australia has been showing signs of rebound, with TruEnergy recently signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 108MW Taralga wind farm in New South Wales. However, it is one of just four major Australian projects with current PPAs, the others being: Macarthur, Origin's Snowtown in South Australia and Gullen Range in New South Wales, all of which appear in the region's top 10 for projects with PPAs (see map, previous page). With the federal election now set for 14 September 2013, many in the wind industry are now concerned that few additional PPAs will now be signed before an election result is known.

New Zealand gears up

New Zealand is well on its way to achieving 20% of energy generation from wind by 2030. Currently, wind accounts for about 5% of electricity supply, with 623MW in operation and over 2GW consented, including the 860MW Castle Hill project near Wellington, which will take up to five years to complete. In total, New Zealand's project pipeline currently stands at 2.2GW. KC.

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