China is a big fan of nuclear power plants and they now own and operate more than any other country in the world, with plans to increase production three fold by 2020. However, China is also a big believer in the potential of wind power and it is predicted the renewable source will outshine their nuclear sector in the near future.
Wind energy capacity in China to increase significantly
The total amount of wind energy gathered in China last year was almost 16% more than the year prior. It is estimated by experts that the amount was sufficient enough to provide power to as many as 110 million homes.
When this data is compared to that of the country’s nuclear power output, the 115 gigawatts of wind power produced in 2014 dwarfed the 20K megawatts that was harvested from its nuclear reactors.
This was a figure that Richard Macauley emphasized at Quartz. He added that such an amount is actually greater than the total power output produced by all of the nuclear plants in the United States combined.
According to Macauley, China does not favour wind power just for the sake of the environment. The country has identified wind power as the most practical power source to use. It is more convenient to operate compared with nuclear plants.
China producing more wind power than all of the nuclear energy in the US combined
And after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, the Chinese are now more cautious about installing reactors in its earthquake-prone area. It makes sense for the country that it pursues a wind power goal, which is to have as much as 200 gigawatts connected to its local grids by the year 2020.
According to J. Matthew Roney of the Earth Policy Institute: “China is building the world’s largest ultra-high-voltage transmission system, which is connecting remote, wind-rich northern and western provinces to the more populous central and eastern ones. At the same time, the government is providing incentives for wind farm development in less-windy areas nearer to population centres. Advances in wind power technology can allow greater capture of energy in spots without the strongest wind resources.”
Not willing to be upstaged, the United States announced through the Wind Vision Report publication their plans to invest in more wind farms in order to produce twice its capacity in the next coming 5 years. Such an increase in wind power production to add some 4.5% to the total national energy created.
United States working to increase total wind energy investment
By 2020, it is expected they will produce around 10% of the country’s national energy requirements. The U.S Energy Department also predicting a continuous increase in the production of wind power to 20% by the year 2030, and to 35% by 2050.
If the department does focus on realizing its predictions, Brian Merchant of Motherboard said that the country might also find its citizens harnessing wind power, with the total number of US households predicted to source one-third of their power from wind energy within a span of four decades.
Alternative energy researchers and scientists agree that the world has enough wind going that we can meet every consumer’s energy requirements seven times over within the next two decades. They are excited that two of the most powerful countries in the world, the U.S. and China, are determined to harness the full potential of wind power.