Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)

A breath of fresh air - China`s new wind industry will blow a few cobwebs away from its heavily polluted industrial heartlands, but no miracle cure is expected.

Untitled Document Guangdong in far southern China, which has a relatively long history as a manufacturing base and relies heavily on migrant labour, was one of the first provinces to accept a capitalist system. The region, often known to Westerners by its older name of Canton, opened itself up to foreign investment in the 1980s and is the home to hundreds of factories which together produce a third of China's exports.

It is beginning to look like some Western countries in the middle of the last century: crime is rising and pollution is on the increase. Smog is getting thicker and more people are dying from lung and heart disease than in many other parts of the world.

And, as a busy place for business, Guangdong boasts of another first: it became the first province to introduce fixed prices for wind energy and is the home to some of China's few wind turbines.

The Guangdong environment is typical of the conditions under which the REEEP has been chosen to develop a route forward for Chinese windpower: many clamouring, competing industries, most of which will continue to use fossil-fuel based energy, and an economy which may well grow faster than the clean energy sector, thereby cancelling out some of its benefits.

“The government of China is developing the wind for energy and also wants to make local manufacturing develop, that is why we have developed the wind roadmap in China, “ explains Wang Zhongying, a key executive helping REEEP manage the plan.

There is no illusion that climate change or even energy security are top of the agenda. Instead, the aim is to create a growing and positive industry which will bring more wealth to the Chinese, while also opening the industry up to foreign investment and expertise and at the same time playing a role in thinning the smog.

The industry's potential is immense and the outlook improving for windpower. Not only did the Chinese government introduce an energy law in February of this year, it also recently raised its renewable energy targets at the Beijing renewable energy conference in November. Instead of 10%, r enewable energy is to account for 15 % of national consumption by 2020, according to the Chinese government.

The REEEP's job, together with the Chinese Centre for Renewable Development (CRED), will be to determine how to get to that 15% from a current base of 764MW. According to CRED, China's inland resource development potential is estimated at 250 GW and its offshore resource development potential at 750 GW. The major gateposts on the roadmap will be a total wind capacity of 5 GW by 2010 and 30 GW by 2020.

“All of the present project will be decided by the market, no matter whether the developer is domestic or foreign. The price will be structured according to a feed-in tariff in line with the conditions in the Chinese Renewable Energy Law. But if more than one developer is interested in the same wind site development, the government will use a bidding procedure to make the decision for the developer,” says Zhongying.

In order to create the roadmap or planning framework which monitors goals, needs, actions and achievements, a steering committee has been formed. Made up of the key players from government agencies and advisors, it will be critical in shaping four main themes: the vision and framework for wind development, the key development needs and strategies for the technology, industry and market sectors for wind, a logical framework for key stakeholder actions required to reach the long term targets, and a set of metrics and appropriate intermediate targets.

Stakeholders include utilites, turbine manufacturers, government agencies, investors, component makers and project developers. Another aspect of its role will be to act as a central point co-ordinating the stakeholders as well as ensuring the committee is acting and thinking in accordance with the demands made by the industrial five-year planning period, the renewable energy law and the government agency.

It is an important role for the REEEP, and the recent changes made by the Chinese government are a positive signal suggesting a commitment to the environmental benefits of renewable energy. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that dirtier industries such as coal, oil and gas will continue to play the largest part in the country, especially while the price differential between fossil-fuel and renewable energy remains as great as it is in China.

About the author:

Li Junfeng is Secretary-General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association. He is Director of REEEP's East Asia regional secretariat in Beijing, the General Secretary of the Chinese Renewable Industrial Association and he also works at the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC as a senior research fellow acting as Chair of the Academic Committee. Mr. Li. is active in renewable energy having worked on projects for the GEF, World Bank and UNDP. Recently, he has become more involved in Climate Change issues, especially in technology transfer, CDM and carbon trading issues. He is also the lead author for the development of Chinese Renewable Energy Law. He has published several articles, including Issues and Options of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Control in China, Renewable Technology Assessment in China, Renewable Energy Planning and Development Strategy, Analysis of Potential for Carbon Trading in China.  Mr. Li Junfeng, graduated from Shandong Mining Institute in 1982.

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