Series of planned projects but little momentum -- China slow but steady

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Progress in China continues at a steady pace with 2002 seeing 66.91 MW of new wind plant, compared with 57.2 MW in 2001, 77.7 MW in 2000, and 44.7 MW in 1999. Total installed wind capacity by the end of 2002 was 468.02 MW in 32 wind power stations.

The north-east province of Liaoning tops both the list for new capacity installed last year and total installed capacity up to the end of 2002. Some 67 turbines with a combined capacity of 40.56 MW went up in the region last year, bringing the province's installed wind capacity to 101.86 MW. None of the remaining provinces installed more than 10 MW and there was no activity at all in Xinjiang, one of the earliest regions to invest in wind energy and for years the top region in China. Tender invitations for the second phase of Xinjiang's Dabancheng wind farm are, however, expected shortly.

While the province of Guangdong only installed 9.9 MW in 2002, wind development in the region looks set to be at least ten times that over the next few years. Hong Kong's CLP Holdings has recently signed an CNY 800 million agreement with the Hailing Island Economic Development Experimental Zone of Yangjiang City to develop a 100 MW wind farm on the island. In addition, tender invitations are expected soon for another wind farm of similar size, to be located in Huilai. The province of Fujian, which had no installations in 2002, has also announced plans to push up its wind capacity from the current 12.8 MW to 200 MW by the end of 2005.

Germany's Nordex was the turbine manufacturer with most capacity installed for the year -- 21 turbines in all with a combined capacity of 15 MW. China's domestic manufacturers, Xinjiang Goldwind and Xi'an Nordex Wind Turbine Company, were not far behind, with 13.8 MW and 10.8 MW, respectively.

Wind development in China has been less than expected. Specific government targets for new wind power capacity by 2005 have fluctuated, ranging from 1000-3000 MW. Measures designed to encourage investment in wind development -- favourable tariffs on imports, subsidies, tax breaks and a 50% cut in sales tax on wind generated electricity -- have not been enough to foster the level of growth required to achieve even the lowest of the proposed targets. Policies requiring grid operators to buy power from state wind farms have also failed to boost the market as the government had wanted. New legislation from the State Development Planning Commission, introducing a mandatory market share for renewables facilitated by trade in green power credits, has been mooted as a solution for the past two years, but legislation has failed to materialise.

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