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Ratio Working Paper No. 317: China’s Wind Power Development – An Anatomy of Mishaps

PublicationWorking paper
China, Energy, Generation, Innovation, Jonas Grafström, Policy, Wind power
Ratio Working Paper 317: China’s Wind Power Development – An Anatomy of Mishaps
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Abstract

China has in recent decades expanded its wind power generation capacity and become the world leader. Still, despite robust government support, wind power in China is obstructed by various barriers (e.g. quality deficiencies, inability to export, missing grid connections, and permit delays from central government for grid construction etc.). This paper synthesises the literature that has discovered weaknesses in the Chinese wind power development and suggests improvements. One energy policy relevant observation is that when the Chinese government sets command-and-control construction targets over new installed capacity, actors delivered to target – but with several power plants without grid connectivity and severe quality problems. The article contributes to the academic debate over the role of policy making in renewable energy development and argues that China should improve their incentive structure and coordination of regulations.

Grafström, J. (2019). China’s Wind Power Development – An Anatomy of Mishaps. Ratio Working Paper no. 317. Stockholm: Ratio.

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Ratio Working Paper No. 336 An Austrian economic perspective on failed Chinese wind power development
Working paperPublication
Grafström, J.
Publication year

2020

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

China is currently hailed as the world’s premier wind power producer. However, despite twice the installed wind power capacity compared to the United States in 2015, the Chinese installed capacity produces less power. Grid connectivity is remarkably low, Chinese firms have few international granted patents, and export is minimal even though production capacity far exceeds the domestic production needs. Using the tools of Austrian economics, failures in China’s wind power development from 1980-2016 is documented and analysed. From a theoretical standpoint, both a planning problem and an entrepreneurial problem is evident where governmental policies create misallocation of resources and a hampering of technological development.

Ratio Working Paper No. 336 An Austrian economic perspective on failed Chinese wind power development
Working paperPublication
Grafström, J.
Publication year

2020

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

China is currently hailed as the world’s premier wind power producer. However, despite twice the installed wind power capacity compared to the United States in 2015, the Chinese installed capacity produces less power. Grid connectivity is remarkably low, Chinese firms have few international granted patents, and export is minimal even though production capacity far exceeds the domestic production needs. Using the tools of Austrian economics, failures in China’s wind power development from 1980-2016 is documented and analysed. From a theoretical standpoint, both a planning problem and an entrepreneurial problem is evident where governmental policies create misallocation of resources and a hampering of technological development.

Ratio Working Paper No. 320: Public policy failures related to China’s Wind Power Development
Working paperPublication
Grafström, J.
Publication year

2019

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

An anecdote about the failure of the Soviet economic system tells about a factory which were evaluated based on tons of nails produced – unsurprisingly the nails became heavy. China is currently hailed as the worlds primer wind power producer; however, a closer examination reveals a string of policy failure making the Chinese wind power development resemble the infamous Soviet nail example. From a technological transition perspective, policy failures in China’s wind power program from 1980-2016 is documented and analysed. Five overarching topics are analysed including: Conflicting policies, quality problems, underwhelming technological development, lacking technological standards and insufficient grid transmission system. One conclusion is that when the Chinese government set a command and control target of how much new installed capacity that was going to be constructed the state utilities delivered to target but with an abundance of power plants without grid connectivity, severe quality problems and low technological development.

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