China to slow wind-power rush
Updated: 2011-04-08 12:55
BEIJING - The Chinese government is considering stricter approval rules for wind power projects to cool heady growth in the sector, Reuters reported Friday, quoting a Chinese newspaper.
Following a report that the country had overtaken the United States in installed capacity, the China Securities Journal said the national energy administration was considering tighter procedures that would include requiring local governments to get the written approval of the National Energy Bureau before going ahead with wind projects with installed capacity of less than 50 megawatts (mW).
"Analysts pointed out that it is hoped that this policy will cool the current excessively fast growth of the wind power sector," the report quoted the Chinese-language newspaper as saying.
Up to now, local governments have merely had to report to central authorities plans for wind projects of less than 50 mW, not gain their express permission, according to Reuters.
Local officials keen for a piece of the potentially lucrative sector have often used that loophole to skirt approval barriers by nominally breaking up bigger wind projects into clusters, with each separate project on paper having less than 50 mW in capacity, said the newspaper.
The new rules would come into force in the first half of this year at the earliest, said the report.
China added 18.9 gigawatts (gW) of new wind power capacity in 2010, making its total capacity 44.7 gW, the Global Wind Energy Council said this April. This compares to earlier estimates of 42.3 gW.
China's wind market doubled every year between 2005 and 2009 in terms of total installed capacity, and it has been the world's largest annual market since 2009.
But many Chinese wind farms can sit idle, because of the failure to coordinate development with other power sources, Reuters quoted the newspaper as saying.
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