China's Wind, Hydro, and Solar Energy

Rivers are numerous in China's large territory. There is plenty of surface flow and incline. That means abundant hydroelectric resources. The reserves of hydroelectricity in Chinese rivers are 6,800 million kilowatts. That would generate 5,920 billion kilowatt hours annually. The potential installed capacity of hydroelectricity is 378 million kilowatts, which would generate 1,920 billion kilowatt hours. Either way, the reserves of hydroelectricity, or potential hydroelectricity in China are the biggest in the world.


The total reserves of wind energy at a height of 10 meters in China are 322,600 million kilowatts. Estimated land wind energy reserves are 253 million kilowatts. Wind-force resources in the coastal waters (deeper than 15 meters) are 3 times that of the land, namely 7,500 million kilowatts. China's wind energy area comes from the northwest, north China, grasslands or the Gobi desert and eastern and southeastern coastal areas and islands. These areas generally have no regular resource production. The winds tend to be heavy and rainfall is minimal in spring and winter. In summer, by contrast, the wind is less, and the rainfall is heavy. These are ideal conditions for developing wind-powered electricity.


At the end of 1998, China had nearly 20 electric wind fields, generating 22,360,000 kilowatts. The largest electricity generation field in China, which is also the largest in Asia, is the Banchang wind-power electricity generation field of Xingjiang. It's equipped with 111 wind-powered electricity groups of 300, 500 and 600 kilowatts. The total capacity is 57,500 kilowatts. At present, the installed capacity of Chinese wind-powered electricity only accounts for one quarter of the potential capacity.


China's solar energy resources are abundant. The solar radiation energy that the land absorbs every year is equivalent to 2.4 trillion tons of standard coal. The annual radiation amount of solar energy of just two thirds of this area exceeds 6,000 trillion joules for each square meter and is up to 8,400 trillion joules for each square meter in the northwestern part of Tibet. It is one of the most abundant areas in the world for solar energy resources. The first solar energy power station in China was built in Inner Mongolia. It generates 560 watts and was put into operation in 1982.