What's blowin' in the wind? Alternative energy in China

A new study of the Chinese wind energy market finds the country's growth will likely continue despite the global economic spasms. EER's report finds China will be #1 in generating electricity from wind by 2011.

A new study of the Chinese wind energy market finds the country's growth will likely continue despite the global economic spasms. EER's report finds China will be #1 in generating electricity from wind by 2011. As much as the once communist state now embraces a brand of capitalism, the eocnomy is still centrally planned to a large extent. The powers-that-be in China have decreed there will be more altnerative energy generation. China Must import both coal and petroleum.

Here's some of what is contained in EER's press release: "Analyst Caitlin Pollock, principal author of the "China Wind Market" study [says] 'China will lead the global wind market in annual installations by 2011 with an estimated 10 GW/year. This is an initiative supported by strong political will, improving incentives, and vast natural and industrial resources. Chinese utilities, such as Longyuan and Datang, are now among the world’s largest wind asset owners'." U.S. WIND TO SUFFER A BLOW

Meanwhile, EER concludes that many wind energy projects slated for the U.S. in 2009 will likely be cancelled or delayed. One problem EER points out for American wind power development--besides the capital drought--is the need for significant electricity grid build-out. But to get that done efficiently would require central planning and we know how popular that's been in the U.S. for the past decade or so. In terms of wind power build-out we shall see if the market forces, or forcing the market will have a greater effect on the world's two largest competing economices.

WIND: YES OR NO?

There is not a broad concensus about the wisdom of widespread use of wind power for generating electricity. You have to get a little worried about any technology China enmrbaces so whole-heartedly--so what are the environmental downsides they are so eager to ignore? Here's a summary of a study showing how windmills blow up bats. Blow up is exactly right, the little bug-eaters explode. And any animla that can eat hundreds of mosquitoes each night gets my vote.

And birds are known to be frequent victims of wind turbines. The American Bird Conservancy says there'll need to be governmental regulation because--can you believe it?--wind companies aren't really too worried about protecting birds from their money-making machines.