China’s Jiuquan Wind Power Base goes unused as demand for wind energy fallsJanuary 17, 2017
Massive wind energy system is not producing electricity
One of China’s largest wind energy systems has rarely been used in recent months. The Jiuquan Wind Power Base is located on the edge of the Gobi Desert, where wind currents are notably strong. The wind farm is comprised of more than 7,000 turbines and is capable of generating enough electricity to power a small nation. While the wind energy system has vast potential, it now stands inert and low demand may be the reason for this.
China is working to embrace clean power, but remains reliant on fossil-fuels
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse emissions. The country has recently begun to invest heavily in renewable energy in an effort to solve this problem, but China remains heavily reliant on fossil-fuels. Wind energy has become one of the country’s favored forms of clean power, but many of the wind farms in China have begun to stop producing electricity. The demand for energy is simply not high enough to justify their operation. An estimated 60% of the capacity of the Jiuquan Wind Power Base currently goes unused.
Government remains hopeful of the wind energy space
Government officials believe that the problems that the wind energy sector is facing are “growing pains.” Officials expect that continued investment in this sector will yield positive results in the long-term, but energy developers have their doubts. Some developers suggest that the government is showing favoritism to the long standing coal industry, which may be limiting support for the wind energy space.
Politics has a major role to play in the growth of the wind energy space
Local governments have proven themselves to be particularly resistant to renewable power. Politics play a major role in this space, as some officials see little benefit in abandoning fossil-fuels in favor of wind energy and other forms of clean energy. Overcoming political challenges will likely aid the wind energy space, but the sector also faces many practical challenges, such as the cost associated with developing large-scale wind farms.