Wind Guangdong

Publication - 2005-10-17
Wind Guangdong is a groundbreaking new report commissioned by Greenpeace from respected international wind energy consultants Garrad Hassan. It bases its analysis on a range of the best available wind resource data as well as worldwide knowledge of relevant technologies, and concludes that the installed capacity of wind power in Guangdong could reach 20,000 MW by 2020: If achieved it is possible that this could generate as much as 35,000 GWh of clean electricity.

Executive summary: This is an electricity output equivalent to:

  • All of Hong Kong’s total current supply;
  • All of Guangzhou’s total current demand;
  • 17% of all Guangdong Province’s total current demand .

It could:

  • Avoid 29 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually;
  • Provide quickly realized new capacity close to the major demand in Guangdong.

In the process:

  • Guangdong’s heavy reliance on energy imports would be reduced;
  • A clean and effective way to tackle carbon emissions would be deployed and proven;
  • A strong domestic industry would grow where new jobs would be created;
  • Guangdong could be at the forefront of offshore wind development;
  • China has the realistic potential to become the world’s leader in wind energy.

The report recommends key policy measures and initiatives on various aspects such as industry, finance, R&D, Hong Kong cooperation, that would be needed to achieve the development. Based on the report, Greenpeace is urging the Guangdong government, national government and industries to seize this golden opportunity for wind power.

Wind Guangdong makes a critical assessment of a very large-scale vision for wind power in Guangdong province. Using maps the report shows what the scale of this development would look like in Guangdong, both onshore and offshore. Wind Guangdong assesses: the potential wind resource; the rate of development required to build the large capacity desired by 2020; the potential of Chinese manufacturing industry to meet this growth; the practical challenges to be met – including the grid connection; the investment climate; the potential costs; and policy measures that could be needed to ensure that this level of growth is realized.

What the report says

Conclusion: If Guangdong province as well as the Chinese government succeeds in implementing the right incentive policies, then the target of 20GW by 2020 would be a reasonable aspiration. Wind energy offers the potential of pollution-free electricity in large volume; addressing both climate change and energy demand for economic growth. Wind power has the ability to produce the required generating capacity within a very short period. This is a classic “win-win” situation.

Industry: Chinese government has shown strong commitment to developing a home-grown industry for turbine manufacture and associated wind farm services. To fully succeed this will require technology transfer agreements with European countries or developers whose turbines lead the field. Based on a strong home market Chinese companies have the capacity to become players not only at home but in international markets.

Research and development: There are huge benefits to R&D programmes designed to sit alongside market promotion. The report suggests that for Guangdong particular attention to wind resource assessment, manufacture of larger turbines and offshore design would be advantageous.

Investment: Building confidence in wind is the key for unlocking the large sums of money necessary for a thriving industry. International financial institutions, such as World Bank, JBIC or Asian Development Bank, should play a more active role in supporting renewable energies in countries like China. Mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol could be extra incentives as well.

Costs: The report compares the cost of wind power with conventional power and shows that wind is already becoming competitive. Further cost reductions are possible; including through the economies of this scale in this vision of development. Accounting for ‘external costs’ of energy technologies the report shows that wind power is among the cheapest to the overall economy.

Electricity grid: The main wind energy resource of Guangdong is located close to where most of the province’s demand lies. The report concludes that wind energy could bring a number of benefits to Guangdong from an energy security perspective and reduce the need for imports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong and Guangdong have a level of interdependence on energy, which is part of the wider economic co-operation between the two administrations. The report suggests that Hong Kong can play an active investment role and can be seen as a part of the potential wind market in southern China. There is clear potential for shared development with Guangdong.

Policy: The report demonstrates that wind power can deliver on a huge sale and that this scale of development brings enormous economic, social and environmental benefits. This level of development would be challenging, but possible, and the key factor for success is policy. Wind Guangdong identifies some key policy steps that could lay the foundation for a successful wind industry on this massive scale.

The Wind Guangdong policy assessment of successful wind markets suggests:

A very ambitious target for wind development in Guangdong is justified and supportable and could play a powerful role in sending a positive signal to investors and developers regarding the opportunities in Guangdong.

Proactive market support mechanism under the framework of National Renewable Energy support. Wind Guangdong compares different mechanisms used in several successful wind markets and concludes the essential qualities are (i) stability and (ii) a reasonable price.

Greenpeace concludes that the report fully supports the Guangdong government and Chinese government’s ambitions for wind energy development and suggests that there is room to be even bolder in the scale of ambition for both Guangdong and China.

Greenpeace recommendations:

  • Greenpeace believes that the Guangdong government can take further confidence from this report that its bold approach to wind power is both an encouraging and positive move. Seeking to make wind power a beneficial mainstay of the Guangdong energy mix in the long term is both feasible and advantageous.
  • Greenpeace calls on the Hong Kong government to engage more actively in renewable energy promotion. Hong Kong lags behind the rest of China in supporting clean energy. With the renewal of the agreements between Hong Kong’s government and Hong Kong’s energy utilities due in 2008, there is clear scope for government to require significant clean energy investment from those utilities in support of wind power in Hong Kong and Guangdong.
  • Greenpeace calls on the international community, including governments, energy developers and investors, to support Guangdong and China’s ambition for wind power. Utility investors such as CLP and International Financial Institutions like Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Co-operation can do much more. They have a clear positive role to play in supporting wind power development in Guangdong and China, through investment and technology transfer, for the benefit of Asia’s environment and economies.

About the authors

The author of the report, Garrad Hassan, is a highly respected international energy consultancy. Since 1984 Garrad Hassan has provided independent expert advice on wind energy and operates through a network of offices in 20 countries. It is wholly owned by its directors and has no equity stake in any wind turbine or wind farm – its advice is independent and impartial.