November 01, 2006

Wind power the problems scaling up

China alone is spending 45billion on wind power over the next 15 years. They are targeting 30GW of power. Part of a 180 billion clean energy program. Some analyst doubt the 30GW target will be met.

China will need 950-1230GW of power by 2020.
Even if China was able to double its wind target. That is still only about 5% of their total power needs.

What do they have to do to get that much power.
20,000 of the current latest 1.5MW turbines
6,000 of the prototype 5MW turbines.
The turbines weigh over 300 tons. Standing about 40-50 stories tall. They are larger than the superjumbo jets. You need large numbers of big factories, transportation to the site, construction crews, site preparation (foundations or anchoring offshore). You need time to get the larger turbines tested. Project timelines, logistics, supply chains (whole companies and industries must be set up), property rights, local building permits takes time.

Wind, solar, nuclear all have somewhat different supply chains and bottlenecks. Which is why they can be scaled up somewhat independently.

The wind power guys (GE being one of the main ones) are not being held back. GE is no small abused company.

The most aggressive targets for a credible global plan for wind power that I have seen is here.

10% of total power by 2020
20% by 2040.

Spending 720 billion by 2020.

This plan which has not been adopted would still mean massive dependence on coal until 2080.

Just because you hope something will happen does not mean that it has a chance to do it. There is no evil conspiracy against wind power. GE, Mitsubishi and the other giant companies providing wind power can hold their own against big coal and oil. They are able to swing subsidies and influence politicians.