Friday, November 13, 2009

China: A Potemkin Wind Village

The Chinese have built an impressive amount of wind power capacity. The problem: They didn't hook it up!!!
The government simply built too many windmills, without much consideration of economic feasibility.

They now sit idle in rows.

Caijing: According to EPIA, Inner Mongolia's installed wind power capacity approaches 3.5 gigawatts, and currently nearly one-third of that is sitting idle. The remaining two-thirds capacity is supplied by turbines that run erratically, shutting off and on according to demand.

"Wind power is too concentrated" in certain regions of China including Inner Mongolia, Ma said. "When there is wind, wind power plants need to generate electricity. But power grids get overwhelmed."

And that wastes money. Nationwide, some 5 million gigawatts of wind power generating capacity never made it to the grid during the first half of 2009. Since wind farm construction costs some 10,000 yuan per kilowatt, the total idle investment is worth about 50 billion yuan.

Construction of these idle windmills was likely included as part of the nations GDP calculation. Problem is, GDP growth as a measure of economic progress means nothing if money is simply wasted on uneconomic infrastructure. America take note.
Wind capacity means less than nothing. Only wind production is meaningful. And even wind production can be more of a problem than it is worth, since the wind blows at unpredictable times and speeds.

Airheads and Bubbleheads promote large scale wind power. More substantial persons go with baseload power sources.

Wind power has its place: small scale, off-grid, isolated locations. For long range cruising yachts, wind and solar are quite nice.



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