China receives planning approval for world’s largest wind farm

The State Power Investment Corporation (Spic), one of China’s top five energy generators, has received planning approval for a 6GW wind farm in the North of the country, close to the Mongolian border.

If constructed, the 3,800km2 Ulanqab Wind Power Base would be the largest onshore wind farm in the world, delivering 18.9TWh of clean energy a year to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei power market in the South.

Spic plans to build the project without subsidy and only receive the market price of thermal power generation in Ulanqab. The 2018 price for coal-fired generation was US$41.26 per MWh, but this could fluctuate by the time the project is operational.

The energy provider did not confirm when the project would be completed but stated that it would help power the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Beijing.

However, a senior analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables’ Asia Pacific team revealed that Spic will have to overcome several challenges to complete the project.

Xiaoyang Li told Windpower Monthly that potential curtailment due to limited transmission space could be a major challenge. “If curtailment can’t be solved, the profitability of the projects will be a concern,” she said.