China could reduce its emissions by 30% in 20 years if it switches to wind power to provide half of its electricity demand, AP reported, citing a US study. The researchers, led by Michael McElroy, a professor of environmental studies at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, used meteorological data to show that wind could theoretically supply all of China’s energy, although it only supplied data illustrating how the country could meet half of its needs. China has 12.2 gigawatts of installed wind capacity – the equivalent of the energy supplied by 24 average-sized coal plants – which accounts for 0.4% of the country’s electricity output. Beijing has plans to build seven more large wind-power farms over the next decade. However, the study does not take into account the upgrades to the power grid that would be necessary to deliver the variable power supplied by wind. McElroy said that the necessary innovation would only be undertaken by power companies if Beijing subsidizes or offsets the costs, which it has yet to do.
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