Wind Power In China Leaves Nuclear In Its (Non-radioactive) Dust

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Wind power breezed past nuclear energy based electricity generation in China last year; producing 2% more power.
   
According to the Earth Policy Institute, the gap will widen in the years ahead.
   
While Chinese officials believed the nation would reach 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2015; that was before Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster. After that occurred, the Chinese government suspended new reactor approvals and launched a safety review of plants in operation and also those under construction.
   
The moratorium on approvals was lifted in October 2012, with the catch that any new reactors must be Generation III; believed to be much safer. That stipulation was a stick in the spokes for China’s nuclear industry and it has continued to struggle since.
   
Earth Policy Institute says China connected just four reactors during 2011/12 with a combined 2,600 megawatts capacity. For wind, it was a very different story; with 19,000 megawatts of wind power capacity added to the grid during the same period.
    
China has good reason to be pursuing wind power passionately aside from safety issues. It’s estimated that the nation’s wind generation potential is 12 times that of its 2010 electricity consumption. China’s 2015 wind energy target has been set at 100,000 megawatts capacity; a goal that should be easily reached.
   
Solar power uptake is also being feverishly pursued. In January, China raised its 2015 target for solar-power installations by 67 percent  to 35 gigawatts capacity. The announcement was welcomed by Chinese solar companies; many of which have been struggling due to a glut of solar panels and razor thin margins; resulting in some companies shuttering manufacturing facilities and others disappearing altogether.
   
By 2020, total installed PV capacity in the nation is expected to  reach 50GW. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China had 6.5 gigawatts of installed  solar panel capacity at the end of last year.