China will break ground this month on a gigantic, $17 billion wind power farm in the northwestern part of the country that will produce 5 gigawatts of power by next year and 20 gigawatts by 2020, according to the official Xinhua news service. The installation in Gansu Province is known as the “Three Gorges of Wind Power” after the gigantic Three Gorges hydroelectric dam on the Yangtze River. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the Gansu wind power installation is scheduled by 2020 to produce five times the power of T. Boone Pickens’ proposed wind power project on the U.S. Great Plains.
The Chinese are building wind farms at about one-third the cost of European and U.S. rivals because the price of manufacturing the turbines and installing them is so much cheaper in China. In addition to its huge installation in Gansu — which is expected to produce power for more than 10 million Chinese households by 2020 — the Chinese also are planning a half-dozen similarly large projects, many on the windy western plains. China is planning to boost its wind power capacity to eight times the current level by 2020.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu
[photo credit: Kaj17]