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China's wind industry: Leading in deployment, lagging in innovation

Long T. Lam, Lee Branstetter and Inês M.L. Azevedo

Energy Policy, 2017, vol. 106, issue C, 588-599

Abstract: China's massive carbon emissions and air pollution concerns have led its government to embrace clean energy innovation as a means of transitioning to a more sustainable energy system. We address the question of whether China's wind industry has become an important source of clean energy technology innovation. We find that in terms of wind capacity expansion, China has delivered enormous progress, increasing its wind capacity from virtually no wind capacity in the early 2000s to 140GW by 2015. However, in terms of innovation and cost competitiveness, the outcomes were more limited: Chinese wind turbine manufacturers have secured few international patents and achieved moderate learning rates compared to the global industry's historical learning rate. Leading China-based indigenous producers are likely to remain important global players for the foreseeable future, but further progress in reducing the cost of capital equipment may slow relative to the recent past. However, opportunities in lowering curtailment rates and improving turbine quality can reduce China's overall levelized cost of electricity for wind.

Keywords: Renewable energy; Wind turbine manufacturing; Patents; Innovation; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:588-599