China Could Replace Coal with Wind

It’s clear that China is taking on renewable energy projects at a fast pace.  The country has doubled its installed wind power every year for the past five years and a new study shows the country should keep it up.  Researchers from Harvard and Beijing Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030.

The scientists came up with meteorological and financial forecasts that show that China can run on wind alone.  They mapped the wind potential for different regions and then assumed that each had a smattering of 1.5 MW turbines.  They excluded metro areas or unusable terrain.  Once they calculated how much energy each area could generate, they then came up with the cost of the energy.

They discovered that many areas, especially northern and western parts of the country, could generate energy at about 6 – 8 cents/kWh.  This meant 6.96 trillion kWh could be generated annually at a profit, which is twice the current energy demand and close to what the demand is expected to be in 2030.

If China chose this route instead of adding more coal, it could prevent 3.5 billion tons of CO2 from being emitted.

Since China is already installing wind at a rapid pace, the researchers think it’s entirely possible that they could make these projections a reality.  The major hurdle for the country would be upgrading and expanding their transmission system to handle new wind farms.

While a world powered by renewable energy is still a long ways off, it’s really promising to hear of studies like these that show that it’s definitely accomplishable.

via MIT Technology Review




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