China wasted 20 percent of wind power generated in 2015

BEIJING (Reuters) - Energy wastage on wind farms in China worsened in 2015, as plunging utilization rates kept 33.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) from being delivered to the grid, the energy regulator said, the equivalent of a fifth of total generated wind power. Average utilization rates last year fell 165 hours from 2014, the regulator said, calling for tougher measures to cut wastage, as China works to boost grid capacity and convince transmission firms to give priority to renewable energy. "Restrictions on power caused by waste wind have already become a major problem impacting the healthy development of the wind power sector," the National Energy Administration said on its website. China's total wind power capacity reached 133.3 gigawatts by the end of February, making up 9 percent of its total, but generation levels, at 168 billion kWh, accounted for just 3 percent of the national total in 2015. Critics have accused local governments of focusing on capacity rather than efficiency and utilization, hitting renewable energy targets by building windfarms in regions plagued by low wind speeds and insufficient grid capacity. The regulator said it would create a power trading mechanism to transmit wind power across provincial and regional boundaries, besides taking action to make sure increases in generation and transmission capacity go hand-in-hand. China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy mix to 15 percent by the end of 2020, up from 12 percent in 2015. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)