China needs more rational policies to make the most of its wind power, says an editorial in Nature.
Despite doubling their capacity every year for the past three years, China's wind turbines are less efficient at producing energy and break down more often than those in other countries.
China's bidding system favours developers that promise cheap supplies of electricity — even if such promises make the projects unprofitable, says the editorial. International companies with more efficient turbines don't even bother to bid. And many appointed projects fail to get off the ground.
China could learn from countries with more experience of wind energy, says the editorial. It suggests the first thing to do is focus on producing power, rather than building turbines.
The editorial also recommends that China adopts more reasonable targets. Operating at international standards of efficiency, China's turbines could produce five per cent of the nation's energy needs by 2020 and could make China the biggest producer of wind energy in the world.