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China wind power increases along with turbines standing still

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 17:26
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Wind power in China is rising at the same time windmills increasingly stand idle, underscoring the challenges utilities and regulators face from surging green energy.

[BEIJING] Wind power in China is rising at the same time windmills increasingly stand idle, underscoring the challenges utilities and regulators face from surging green energy.

While wind power rose 8.5 per cent, to 140 gigawatts, in the first six months compared to the end of 2015, so too did idle turbines, the National Energy Administration said in a statement. The average time windmills spent generating power dropped 8.5 per cent in the first half, to 917 hours from 1,002 hours a year ago.

China's grid has increasingly struggled to absorb the influx of renewable power, forcing turbines to stand idle and focusing attention on the efficiency of investments. Even with double the installed wind capacity, China is producing less electricity from turbines than the US.

The amount of wind power sitting idle in China more than doubled to 15 per cent last year, according to NEA data.

Curtailment, which occurs when wind generation is available but grid operators don't accept the electricity, "won't be improved in a short time," said Zhou Yiyi, a Shanghai-based analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Falling utilisation is a consequence of last year's record additions, which resulted from a rush to complete projects before tariff cuts, she said.

The performance in Xinjiang region was 37 per cent lower than the average while Gansu province trailed by 36 per cent. China is studying how to cut idle capacity in renewables over the next five to 10 years, Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration, said last month.

BLOOMBERG