World’s highest wind farm completed in Tibet

The 15MW farm will contribute to Tibet’s annual wind energy reserves which is the seventh largest in China

Tibet is one of the last regions in China to receive a wind farm. (Source: Tibet Travel)


By Nilima Choudhury

China’s Longyuan Power has announced the installation of the world’s highest wind farm, located in Tibet.

The company has installed five turbines on a wind farm about 4,900 meters above sea level and plans to install a further 28 wind turbines located in Naqu Prefecture in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Once fully complete, the farm will generate 15MW of energy, enough to power 13,500 homes.

Tibet, because of its harsh natural environment, and Macau are the last two Chinese regions without wind farms. To date, Tibet’s annual wind energy reserves amount to 93 billion/kWh, the seventh largest in China.

According to GTM Research the significance of investing in renewable energy lies with developers “looking to expand in areas that don’t suffer from the curtailment issues impacting China’s major wind bases in the north and northeast.”

Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in February that China had installed 15.9GW of wind power in 2012, which accounts for 35% of the world’s new onshore wind capacity.

Despite China being a leader in the wind energy generation its lack of a robust transmission network to carry power generated from the numerous wind energy projects is holding it back from reaching its potential.

Speaking to RTCC, Chris Evans from industry advisers the Rolton Group said: “Some intrinsic infrastructure issues may also impact the effectiveness of renewable integration.

“For example the Chinese also have had significant problems in infrastructure connectivity for renewables, which they have been trying to improve upon since 2010 when they targeted grid issues, cross province subsidies and guaranteed off take agreements, before then they had invested in many renewable solutions including wind turbines – but some weren’t even connected to the grid.”

In response, Longyuan said: “When finished, the project will help ensure regular power supply in Naqu, and solve the transmitting electricity to the remote area”.

The company is also involved in the construction of one of the largest offshore wind farms in Jiangsu, in eastern China, called the Rudong Intertidal wind project, which is now online.

Currently, the UK boasts the world’s largest offshore wind farm which has a total capacity of 630MW – enough to power nearly half a million homes a year, with government assurances that it will help the industry grow further.

A new radar system has been developed by a UK company which it claimed could double the number of wind farms across the UK as well as allaying safety concerns over installing turbines near airports and military bases.

On the continent, the European Wind Energy Association has said energy crises could be solved with floating wind farms out at claiming they could power Europe four times over. By 2030, the EWEA envisages an installed capacity of 150GW, or enough electricity for 145 million households.

China has mastered the onshore wind energy technology, now it should aggressively push for development in the offshore sector and in remote areas, say analysts.

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