20 June 2011

China's Wind Infrastructure to Nowhere

China is trying to increase its use of alternative sources of energy. To that end, the country has installed billions of dollars worth of wind turbines. In fact, in 2010, China surpassed the United States as the country with the most wind turbines installed.

But despite China's recent upsurge in wind farms, Ma says, there's an infrastructure problem that hasn't been widely reported. Many of China's wind turbines can't connect to the country's larger electric grid. There aren't enough cables, wires, and related technology to bring wind-generated electricity from rural Mongolia. That's where most of China's wind turbines are located--far from the densely populated hubs of China's northeast and south, where electricity is most needed _FastCompany
In the midst of China's mad rush to build infrastructure, the weakness of its command economy is exposed. Despite its impressive GDP numbers, China is a poor nation filling itself with ghost cities, ghost highways and railways, ghost infrastructure of every kind -- much of which is destined to crumble and fall prematurely due to rushed, shoddy construction.

Even worse than low quality overbuild, is China's bloated financial and economic infrastructure, corrupt to the core.

The ghost numbers of China's ghost economy impress only those who are incapable of looking to the heart of China's economic problem -- the lack of meaningful market level decision making and housecleaning. China's human masses are its greatest value, yet due to China's corrupt government the incredible creative power of China's people is being constrained and oppressed, wasted, like the massive ghost infrastructure to nowhere that begins crumbling even before it is completed.

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Blogger neil craig said...

That is bad since it suggests that, rather than being more competent than our leaders (no great trick), they really are putting resources into this fraud. I had assumed these were just Potemkin windmills so that they could pretend to eco-fascism to allay the fears of western leaders but this suggests they are actually building things.

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

China is building a huge, shoddy infrastructure prone to early collapse. But it looks good on the balance books. Certainly the Potemkin cargo cult infrastructure impresses western environmentalists, politicians, media pundits, and US President Obama.

Obama wants to facilitate huge US purchases of Chinese-built wind turbines. Why would he want to waste scarce US resources in propping up the corrupt Chinese regime?

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger neil craig said...

Perhaps because they still cost less than twindmills built by the corrupt American eco-subsidy industry.

We disagree on China because i think their building of real electric capacity too gives them a base to survive fiscal downturns. In 15 years they may well be selling western countries thorium liquid salt reactors, that the US was on the brink of building 45 years ago. If not the odds are more likely that it will be because our Luddite governments prevent them being bought than that the Chinese can't or won't sell them.

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

I found this bit interesting:

"While CPC ideologically equipped cadre, the government geared up to meet any internal trouble by allocating $95-billion budget this year to beef up police, state security, armed civil militia, courts and jails.

Incidentally, this year’s internal security budget for China was higher than the $91-billion defence budget.

China is building a huge, shoddy infrastructure prone to early collapse.

Sigh.... So true. So true.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

Link 5

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger Howard Roark said...

Al Fin, I'm wondering what you think of Jim Rogers and his hyping of China. He calls it more captialist than the United States etc. He has even moved to Asia.

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Jim Rogers is an old associate of George Soros. He learned a lot from old George, in terms of how to posture in order move global markets in ways which benefit himself.

Keep that in mind whenever any savvy trader makes public announcements.

Monday, 20 June, 2011  
Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...


Rogers is considered the "ultimate China bull," but his position has changed slowly. Last year, when Jim Chanos rung the alarm about China, particularly her real estate market, Rogers completely denied a bubble, and said "Ten years ago, Chanos couldn't have spelled China." A few months, later he 'fessed up to the fact that China has a real estate bubble.

Recently, he acknowledged that China has a high chance of experiencing a crisis in the upcoming years, but he remains a bull for the long run. His rationale is China is well suited with a slew of brand new infrastructure; I was in the EXACT same boat, initially, when it first became clear to me that China is heading for a major crisis.

Unfortunately, much of China's infrastructure is poorly built; this stems from a factor of items including, unskilled workers, shoddy material (sandy concrete, lousy rebars, etc.) 24-hour construction at six days a week, corruption (shady approval processes, cheating on material). The corruption element sometimes reaches comical proportions. Once I read a story about several busted officials who awarded a bridge construction project to a blind contractor (the bridge collapsed during construction). Another time, I read a bit about a construction company that filled pot holes on a year-old bridge with super glue.

For information about China's poorly-built infrastructure, check the links in my previous post.

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011  
Blogger LarryD said...

China's rulers understand the correlation between energy and prosperity, so they are building a lot of energy production capacity. And if the West is willing to subsidize "renewable" energy, then they are willing to take the West's money. I'm skeptical that they're actually investing much of their own money into the scam, though.

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

LarryD: Right. The Chinese wind ventures have all the trappings of a great scam.

BB: Nice set of links, thanks.

Neil and LarryD: China is certainly building a lot of energy capacity in coal and nuclear -- and probably shale gas eventually -- but a lot of that infrastructure is shoddily built and doomed to fail prematurely.

China is already a poisoned wasteland from its current and prior industrial ventures. When its nuclear plants go down due to bad construction and faulty safety procedures, the country's poisoned landscape will experience further stages of death.

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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