China's First High-altitude Wind Turbine Reaps the Wild Wind

China is rapidly emerging as one of the world's most voracious electric power consumers and the nation's estimated energy requirements for the future are far greater than current power sources can provide. With that in mind, China is aiming to exploit the 9,000 square kilometers of highlands in the country's northwest, southwest and the Tibet Autonomous Region where wind resources are abundant but challenges are formidable.

Great distances, rugged topography and deficiencies in infrastructure loom in China's “Wild West” but the rewards are well worth the time and trouble development demands.

As China's leading wind turbine manufacturer, Goldwind Science and Technology Company is taking the bull by the horns. A 1.5-megawatt direct-drive permanent magnetic wind turbine was recently installed at a pilot wind farm on Xitie Mountain, located in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

Goldwind board chairman Wu Gang (right), commenting on the project, said “We will properly improve the wind turbine according to its performance and then produce it in mass quantities.”

The company currently operates low-wind-speed, offshore, high-altitude and high- and low-temperature wind turbines. The new high-altitude turbine features larger blades in order to capture the thin highland winds with the best possible efficiency.

Benefits of the new high-altitude wind turbines go far beyond energy generation. “These turbines have the ability to save 7.28 million tons of coal,” said Wu Gang, “and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 18.14 million tons.” For China – and her neighbors downwind – clean energy is more than just an expression: it's an expectation. (via Xinhua, WSJ and ReCharge News)