China’s growing prominence in the wind power sector has again been illustrated with the release of statistics showing that electricity generation by wind turbines nearly doubled in 2007.

Industry association the China Electricity Council said that the wind power sector in the country generated 5.6 TWh in 2007, a growth of 95.2 per cent over the previous year, reported the Xinhua news agency.

The high growth rate is largely down to a string of measures implemented by the government and designed to support the wind power industry, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. Further measures, such as the deregulation of the project approval process, may be taken in future years.

China’s wind power capacity now stands at just over 6 GW, up from 2.7 GW in 2006. Projects totalling 4.2 GW are currently under construction.

China now stands fifth in the world in terms of installed wind power capacity, and plans to increase its wind power capacity to 10 GW by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020. One of the key areas for development is Gansu Province in Northwestern China.

Gansu’s wind power resources lie along a 1000 km ancient “silk road” bordered by desert and crossed by transportation routes as well as transmission lines. Its current installed wind power capacity is 500 MW but it has a wind power potential of 237 GW.