文章 Articles

Forces of nature

Wind power is clean, efficient and ideally suited to China’s conditions. Change is in the air, writes Li Siqi.

Article image

When Don Quixote charged at windmills atop his horse, he could never have imagined that several centuries later the target of his sword would be providing modern industrial societies with light and power.

The turbine blades turn in the wind, and electricity for domestic and industrial use flows from a generator at the base of the tower. Cooling off in a summer’s evening breeze, we might never realise the vast power the wind can supply us. However, estimates put the total amount of wind power available worldwide at 130 billion kilowatts (or 130 terawatts). And what does that really mean? Well, the US has less than 1 billion kilowatts of power-generating capacity; so in other words, less than 1% of the world’s available wind power could supply all of the electricity needs for the world’s largest economy.

When compared to burning fossil fuels, which emits huge quantities of pollutants and greenhouse gases, and even if compared to hydroelectric power, wind power is the genuinely environmental option. Wind power emits no carbon dioxide or other harmful gases, and has virtually no impact on the environment. It is a boon for a planet increasingly worried about environmental degradation and the greenhouse effect.

One kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from wind power can save up to 600 grams of carbon dioxide – the major trigger of global warming – as well as three grams of sulphur dioxide and two grams of nitrogen oxides (the causes of acid rain). In theory, if all our electricity came from wind power, emissions of greenhouse gases would drop by 60%. And the countries which have already adopted wind power more widely are feeling the benefits. Northern Europe is in an ideal position to exploit wind power, and Denmark has the highest wind generating capacity per head of any country, with Germany leading the world in overall wind power use. Europe is already proving itself a world leader in the use of wind power: in 2005, this alternative resource allowed the continent to avoid the release of 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 94,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 78,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides. Danish firm BTM estimates that if 10% of our electricity came from wind power by 2025, emissions of carbon dioxide could be reduced by 1.4 billion tonnes.

China is of course known for its vast size, and has an unparalleled opportunity to harness wind power. The country has a theoretical onshore wind power generating capacity of 3.2 billion kilowatts, say the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, more than any other country – although only around 250 million kilowatts of this could be readily exploited. Add to this the potential for offshore wind generation, and the total comes to 1 billion kilowatts. China would only need 60% of that figure to meet all its electricity needs.

Not only is there rich potential for developing wind power, but also this potential is widely spread across the country, with prime spots along the east coast and its islands, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Inner Mongolia, China’s northwest and northeast. The provinces of Gansu, Shandong, Anhui and northern Jiangsu could also have this potential.

As in Europe, the benefits will be easily apparent. For example, wind farms in Inner Mongolia’s Huitengxile and Zhangbei in Hebei province will soon provide 5% of Beijing’s electricity, saving 1 million tonnes of coal and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 3 million tons, sulphur dioxide by 25,000 tonnes and smoke and dust by 30,000 tonnes.

Although the widespread use of wind power has so far been held back by high costs, growing environmental concerns and increasing technological improvement has meant these costs have fallen significantly. Preferential policies and tax breaks have helped too, and wind power is now able to compete with traditional sources of energy in a number of countries, which has in turn stimulated the growth of the industry over the past few years. At the end of 2006, 75 million kilowatts of wind power generating capacity were in place worldwide, two-thirds of it in Europe.

China has made good progress in its own application of wind power, but there remains a huge potential for expansion. The total annual capacity of China’s current wind turbines could still not power Beijing for a month. But the US, coming late in the game, has recently leapt into second place in the world in terms of total installed capacity. China has only 40 wind farms, with 1,500 turbines and 2.6 million kilowatts of power-generating capacity, less than a half of neighbouring India, putting the country sixth worldwide.

A combination of federal policy support and state tax breaks slashed the costs of wind power and stimulated its growth in the US, and China’s own policy-makers are starting to adopt the same measures. China’s Renewable Energy Law was promulgated in 2005 to boost the renewable power industry. Wind power receives state support, with preferential policies including tax breaks and assistance in connecting to the national grid; this has lead to an exponential growth in the industry. An extra 1.34 million kilowatts of generating capacity was installed in 2006, accounting for 8.9% of global growth and an increase of 165.83% on the previous year. If that rate of growth can be maintained, China will have 20.24 million kilowatts of wind power by 2010, and 225 million by 2020. That would mean 10% of China’s power coming from wind, and a 450 million tonnes reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a sulphur dioxide reduction of 2.25 million tons and a cut in nitrogen oxides emissions of 1.35 million tones. And China would enjoy bluer skies.

Global wind power generating capacity is increasing by 25% a year, and an increasing number of nations are developing this clean source of energy. But so far we have only made tiny use of this incredible resource. Estimates show that if China and Europe made use of all available wind power along their coasts, they could meet all their energy needs. This is only the beginning.

 

Li Siqi is editorial assistant for chinadialogue’s Beijing office

Now more than ever…

chinadialogue is at the heart of the battle for truth on climate change and its challenges at this critical time.

Our readers are valued by us and now, for the first time, we are asking for your support to help maintain the rigorous, honest reporting and analysis on climate change that you value in a 'post-truth' era.

Support chinadialogue

发表评论 Post a comment

评论通过管理员审核后翻译成中文或英文。 最大字符 1200。

Comments are translated into either Chinese or English after being moderated. Maximum characters 1200.

评论 comments

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

绿色能源是我们的希望

火电产生大量的二氧化碳,核电产生废料,水电造成生态污染,也许只有绿色能源才是我们的希望

Green Energy is our hope

Coal power produces co2, nuclear power produces nuclear wastes, hydropower pollutes ecosystem, probably our only hope is green energy

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

一帆风顺

风能的确是一种绿色的能源,但是,风自身的局限性是风能很难在段时间内取代其他能源.
将风转换为能源需要风速达到一定的标准,但是风变幻莫测,转向无常,不能直接储藏,季节性和地区性差异也很大,风场必须设在高处或是风口,分散性较大.因此风能发电具有很大的不稳定性,还需要技术的进一步发展.

smooth sailing

Wind power is indeed green, but it has its own shortfalls. It can't replace other types of energy in a short period of time and it requires a shreshold being reached to turn wind into energy. Wind is unpredictable, not storable, and it differs across regions and different seasons. Wind powerplant must be placed higher or at upperstream of the wind, which makes it highly scattered. Therefore, electricity production from wind power is highly unstable. If it is to be adopt, we will need further development in technology.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

路慢慢其修远兮

在相当长的时间内,中国仍然会以煤作为主要的能源。然后会是水电吧,再然后才可能是风能占主角。成本问题的解决太难了。

Too far to go

Coal power will be dominant energy resources for a long time in China. And then it will be hydropower, finally it may be wind power. The problem of cost is too difficult to solve.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

风电的成本

风电的成本目前呈增速下降的趋势,跟火电等传统能源的成本接近的时间为时不远了

Cost of wind power

The cost of wind power is declining at an increasing speed. It won't take long before it reaches those of traditional energies, such as the cost of coal-fired power plants.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

关于风能的区域划分

关于风能的区域划分
Comment | 评论
风能统计我国采用地面10米以上风能蕴藏量为标准.其中风能的区域划分并非完全依据传统的地域概念,中国气象局在20世纪90年代,根据全国900多个气象台站实测资料做出了多年年平均风能密度分布图,首次完整细致地估算出各省及全国离地面10米高度层上的风能资源储量,给出我国陆地上10米高度风能资源报告,报告指出: 根据历年气象资料, 我国在距地面10 米高度处风能的分布情况是: 东南沿海及其岛屿、青藏高原、西北、华北、新疆、内蒙古和东北部分地区为风力资源丰富的地区, 平均风速大於3 米/秒的天数在200天以上;甘肃、山东、苏北、皖北等地区年平均风速大於3 米/秒的天数也在150 天以上.初步估计我国风能资源的蕴藏量约10 亿千瓦左右, 有可能利用的约10%, 即1 亿千瓦. 详情可以参看下列论文: http://engine.cqvip.com/content/
tk/98032x/1993/000/002/gc07_tk4_1148715.pdf 以及百科全书,中国风能资源条目

Wind Power in China

China collects statistics of wind power 10 meters above the ground.

Statistics show that rich wind power resources are available in southeast China's coastal areas and nearly islands and islets. Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, northwest China, north China, Xinjiang and Innor Mongolian regions, as well as some parts of northeast China.

This means this way to describe the availability of wind power resources in China is different from
the usual way when talking about geographic locations.

Please find more information by referring the essay.http://engine.cqvip.com/content/ tk/98032x/1993/000/002/gc07_tk4_1148715.pdf

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

风电

我们家附近就有一个风电厂,洁白的叶片很漂亮,要是我们用的电都是来自于这些地方,就不会有污染了

Wind power

There's a wind power plant near my home, the white fans of which are very beautiful. If all the electricity we are using comes from this type of place, there will be no pollution any more.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

风能也是有利有弊

风能都认为是有百利而无一弊的绿色能源,其实这是大错特错!只知其一不知其二!

风是怎么产生出来的?总观地球大气的运动,便可看到赤道附近是东风带,是大气落后于地面速度产生的,所以是地球转动的阻滞力,是使地球自转减慢的力量,也就是说是使地球向金星那样逐渐停转的力量。这种力量和地球各圈层的潮汐摩擦力一起,最终会使地球成为下一个金星,大气压将高达100atm,温度达到摄氏800度!
热带受太阳照射,气温升高,膨胀,上升,吸引两极的冷空气在地面补充,这是叫做哈德来环流。在哈德来环流的过程中,风速的纬向分量仅有少量降低,而地面的速度随着纬度的增加而迅速降低(极点速度为0),因而形成在中纬度的高空,风向是北半球西南风,南半球是西北风;在低空,北半球是西北风,南半球是西南风。
所以在高纬度和中纬度,气流对地面是起推动作用的,是阻滞地球减慢的力量!
总的来说,地球大气的能量是负面的,是促进地球走向火星一样的不适合生物繁衍的星球的力量!
如果我们地球人大量从风能里索取能量,就是无意中在自挖坟墓,自取灭亡,是实际上的饮鸩止渴!
欲知详情,请看“scienature的文章《地球变暖的物理学主因及其对策》”网站:scienature.spaces.live.com

The pros and cons of wind energy

The general consensus is that wind energy is the perfect green energy. However, this observation is sadly wide of the mark. People tell of the great benefits of wind but they only recount one side of the story. Changes in surface winds, or the distribution of high and low pressure patterns can act to change the rate of the Earth's rotation or even the direction of the rotational axis. This means that over time it has the effect of stopping the Earth from rotating, leaving our planet in a still, motionless state. The wind's force, coupled with the dragging effect of tidal friction, will turn the planet into a barren land with atmospheric pressure rising to as high as 100 atm, and the temperature reaching 800 °C.

Exposure to the tropical sun causes air temperatures to rise, this air then expands, elevates and attracts bipolar cold air fronts. This is called the Hadley Cell. The Hadley Cell means that latitudinal zonal winds only have to reduce a tiny amount for ground latitude to increase and the ground speed to decrease rapidly (with a pole speed of 0). Therefore, under conditions of mid-latitude and high altitude, this means that wind direction in the Northern Hemisphere is south-westerly and the Southern Hemisphere is north-westerly, while at low altitude, the Northern Hemisphere is north-westerly, the southern hemisphere is south-westerly. So at mid-latitude and high latitude, the air pushing against the earth's surface is creating friction, slowing the Earth down. In short, the Earth's atmospheric energy is killing the planet's rotational force, turning the planet into the next Hesper – a motionless, uninhabitable land. If we adopt wind power on a large scale we shall inadvertently be digging a grave for our planet.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

评7号评论

我认为你的评论中事实和结论之间没有任何关系。

To Comment No. 7

I do not see any correlation between the facts and conclusion in your sentences..

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

答复8号评论

因为我是第一次上这个网站,不知道我的评论是否能够被发表,所以写得过于简单,难免使您产生那样的感觉。对此谨表歉意,请原谅!
这个问题过于繁复,在《科学》杂志(美国《SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN》中文版1996年第三期)以“无情的地域之火”为题发表的时候,编辑部要求压缩到一万字以内,以至影响了阅读的效果。在这里是限制在3500字以内,所以只能提纲携领地提出问题和结论,没有详尽的展开论述。
这篇文章并不是原美国杂志里面有的,当时这个中文版每一期也选登几篇中国自己的投稿,(现在已经不这样做了)所以能够看到这篇文章的人一定很少。我在我的评论的后面,注明了我的网站地址和供参考的题目(与这次介绍的题目不同,是因为那个杂志的性质是科普杂志)
以后我打算把文章移到这里来,不但读者面广,而且有可靠的翻译,还省去了自己翻译的辛苦。
谢谢您看了我的评论,并且让我知道了问题的所在!

Re Comment 8

That was the first time I commented on this website, not sure if it can get through to be published. So my comment was too simplified, no wonder it make you feel like that. Apologies for that, and please excuse me for the simplification.

This is a very complicated issue. When published on the third issue of Chinese version SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in 1996, it was named "Hellfire without merci" and was required to be shortened to less than 10,000 words, which had some negative effects on the sucessful delivery of my idea. Here, there's a 3500 cap. I can only mention the main points, set up the framework and give a conclusion without further elaboration.

The article is not published in the original journal in the US. At that time, Scientific American would pick some local articles to be included in its Chinese version every time and my article was one of them. (They are not doing it any more.) Therefore, not so many people can get to read it. I left the information of my webpage and references at the end of my comment. (It's different from this in the sense that the other one is a popular science journal.) I plan to move my articles here in the future, for the diversification of the audience, for the trustworthy translation, and for the efforts saved from translating them myself.

Thanks for reading my comment and letting me know where the problems are!

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

蓝天

风能是我们首当应该发展的替代能源原因有以下几点:1。油价高企,有可能继续走高!必须减轻对其的高依赖2。火电的高污染已是由来已久3。水电也不像看上去那样“美”。。。三峡水电造成的长江干支流的污染其中对地质灾害更为严重:三峡库区20个区县中有17个出现滑坡等地质灾害。。。
4。核能有废料处理。幅射污染等问题。
5。太阳能的成本太高,每度电的成本约为08-1元人民币6。风能的成本已通过技术研发已经大大降低,度电的成本约为0。4-0。6元(人民币)如果考虑环境因素已经和传统发电成本不相上下。

所以我应大力发展这个造福子孙后代的“光辉”事业-风电!确实落实政府政策,还下一代真正的蓝天!

Giving future a blue sky

Wind power is our first and foremost choice of renewable energy for the following reasons:
1. The price of oil is on the rise.
We should reduce the dependence on it.

2. It has been long identified the serious pollution from coal burning generated electricity.

3. It seems that hydroelectric power is not as perfect as expected. The Three Gorges Dam has resulted in the pollution in main and branch waterways of Yangze River and some remarkable geographic demages with 17 out of 20 counties appearing landslides in that area.

4. While using nuclear power, people have to bear the danger of handing nuclear waste and take the risk of nuclear pollution.

5. The cost of solar power is way too high, up to 0.8 to 1 yuan RMB per kwh.

6. The cost of wind power has been significantly reduced, down to 0.4 to 0.6 yuan RMB per kwh.

Considering its environment friendly nature, the cost is almost the same as the traditional way of generating electricity.

Therefore, we should motivate all effort possible to develop the Brilliant Wind power of the future, which will leave the future generation a blue sky with effective implementation of government policies.