China’s Idled Wind Turbines Rise for First Time in Three Years

The number of China’s wind turbines sitting idle rose in the six months through June for the first time in three years even as the country continued to add capacity.

The rate was, on average, 15.2 percent in the first half, according to data from the National Energy Administration. That’s almost 7 percentage points higher than the same period last year.

Idled capacity has dogged China’s wind farm operators after a rush to build turbines in the windiest areas of the nation surpassed the grid’s ability to absorb and transmit the power. Lately, the situation had been improving, with the number of idled turbines declining year-on-year.

Now, more coal-fired capacity and a dip in electricity consumption growth are weighing on demand for wind power.

About 43 percent of installed wind generation sat unused in the northeastern province of Jilin in the first six months, the highest rate in the nation, the NEA said in a statement on Monday. The northwestern regions of Gansu and Xinjiang followed.

Idled generation increased almost 58 percent from a year ago to 17.5 billion kilowatt-hours, the NEA said.

China added 9.16 gigawatts of wind capacity in the first half of 2015, according to NEA data.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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