China Opens Up in Effort to Jump Ahead

Recently, China Business News reported that the Chinese government was scrapping restrictions on the use of foreign parts in wind power turbines. China, which relies on coal for more than 70 percent of its energy, is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. China hopes this decision aids the nation as it seeks access to more advanced technology to meet its clean energy targets. According to Steve Sawyer of the Global Wind Energy Council, “China is the fastest growing market for wind energy in the world, with the U.S. and India not far behind.”

However, according to Roby Roberts, Vestas’s senior VP of external relations, China may soon jump far ahead of the game. “There is a growing demand within China as well as a lot of potential in the U.S. However, it is more difficult to grow within the U.S. because legislation- wise, the U.S. has a harder time looking at long-term energy policy.”

The decision by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) means wind farms in China no longer have to source at least 70 percent of turbine parts from the domestic market. The cap was originally introduced in 2005, when foreign companies had approximately 75 percent of China’s wind turbine market.

China’s installed wind power capacity in 2009 was forecast to reach 20 gigawatts (GW) out of a total of 860 GW—a large jump from 12 GW at the end of the previous year. That would lift China past Spain to become the world’s third biggest wind power producer after the United States and Germany. It could also allow China to reach its target of generating 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources—mainly wind and water—by 2020.