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I always take perverse pleasure in pointing out to the people who try to argue Europe is "losing" to China in terms of the wind sector, that many of the hundreds of turbines in Inner Mongolia have to shut off during peak production times in the winter because of a lack of effective planning.  Ironically, despite all the praise heaped on China  by  serious people (for low labor costs) the structure of their support for wind farms really has produced many of the defects that are lodged at European FiT programs.

Much, if not most, of China's wind farms were built with generous government  support in Inner Mongolia.  It's full of great sites, strong winds, etc.  But.......

The problem is that China has  a sort of reverse merit order effect in play because of the infrastructure in the region.  Much of the province is heated by coal fired combined heat and power plants, and there is little ability to shift power south to Guangdong and the rest of the industrial south. So what happens when the best winds come in winter is that these wind farms are idled.  Why?

Because there's no place for the power to go.  If the infrastructure existed to move the power south, no problem.   But the scope of the market is limited to Inner Mongolia by the lack of infrastructure. And in the province idling coal fired production isn't an option because that also means shutting off the heat for much of the province.  China doesn't need to develop any more capacity, there's already a bubble in that regard.  China needs to start building HVDC lines to the south, but that is unlikely to happen, because it's been the provinces and localities running the show on all of this.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2012 at 09:01:59 PM EST
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