government support enables progress for Asian Pacific wind energy
In recent years, the Asia Pacific wind energy
market has taken huge strides forward. Developed nations such
as the United States and European countries had a strong head
start owing to government support, regulations and the infrastructure
to explore the potential of wind energy. During the course of
the decade, emerging economies in Asia Pacific, particularly
India and China, have made rapid progress and have expanded wind
energy generation from 1.7GW in 2000 to 41GW in 2009.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Asia Pacific Wind Energy
Market – Investment Analysis, finds that the phenomenal growth
of the market is due to the geographically favorable location,
government support, recognition of potential, emphasis on renewable
development and energy security.
“Asia Pacific accounted for 41 GW capacity in 2009, almost doubling
its capacity from 2008,” said Frost & Sullivan financial
analyst Sivapriya Ramakrishnan. “The tremendous wind potential
is taking tangible shape due to China’s explosive growth; growth
in Chinese installations uplifted the global wind energy market.”
Though domestic investment is overshadowing foreign investment
to a large extent, the scope for foreign investment is likely
to increase through the course of 2010 as new regulations encourage
markets to open up. The Asia Pacific wind energy market was largely
immune to the economic downturn, as government-aided institutions
and local utilities provided most of the funding for wind energy
Globally, there were some problems due to the economic slowdown;
however, the stimulus packages (particularly those of the Chinese
and Indian Governments) provided a shot of adrenalin for the
renewable energy market.
Though the prospects for the market look upbeat, there are some
challenges reining in market progression. About 30 percent of
the wind energy generated does not reach the grid due to inefficiencies.
The existing grid is not equipped to transport renewable energy.
Unless the grid is upgraded, the generation of renewable energy
can be seriously hampered.
Apart from this, ambiguity regarding legislation such as the
Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), Generation-based incentives
(GBI) and emissions trading has slowed market momentum. Solar
energy is approaching large-scale commercialization and its attractiveness
will eventually overshadow wind energy.
Offshore potential is large in most parts of Asia Pacific and
Australia. However, the cost of developing offshore wind power
is 2-3 times higher, creating a huge roadblock. There have been
notable innovations in deepwater floating turbines and shallow-water
turbines, and these advancements will make harnessing offshore
potential a viable option.
India, China, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand are heavily investing
in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems to support their
increasing power load. HVDC also supports renewables, as it enables
transmission over longer distances (remote sites) and connects
offshore wind power through efficient underwater cabling with
lower power loss. Development of feasible energy storage technologies
can greatly enhance the contribution of electricity generated
by wind energy to the grid. Countries such as Japan are highly
dependent on the commercialization of storage technologies to
increase the contribution of renewables.
“Wind power capital costs are the lowest in Asia Pacific and
it is expected to be reduced by another percent to 30 percent
in the next decade,” said Sivapriya. “In the event of the cost
reduction and grid upgradation efforts, wind energy is expected
to grow steadily.”