Mongolia is an East Asian country about the size of Alaska, with vast potential for wind energy due to the large unpopulated plains that make up most of the land, and the wind corridor of the Gobi desert. The south Gobi region is predicted to contain 300 gigawatts of wind energy potential which Mongolia are now looking to take advantage of based upon the expectation that its electricity demand will double within 15 years due to the fact that it has one of the fastest growing economies of the world, fuelled by its rich natural resources such as coal and copper.
Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan , CEO of the Mongolian investment firm Newcom Group who are developing the wind farm, told the New York Times that, “people always explain to me that 80 percent of our territory is covered with coal. Well, yes, but 100 percent is covered with wind.”
The construction of Mongolia’s first wind farm, the $100 million Salkhit (translates as “the windy mountain”) project, is scheduled to begin this month and should be completed before the end of the year. Newcom Group has signed a deal with GE to supply the 1.6 megawatt wind turbines used in what will be the country’s third largest power producing facility.
The Salkhit wind farm will increase Mongolia’s total wind power capacity to 800 megawatts by providing and extra 168.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity. The National Renewable Energy Centre of Mongolia performed research and concluded that they have enough resources to produce more than 2,550 terawatt hours per year.
Salkhit is Mongolia’s first wind energy project and has been plagued by problems and delays, resulting in it costing more than 40 percent more than a comparable project in the US. However Byambasaikhan believes that all will run smoothly from now on, and states that his company has set the ambitious objective to increase wind capacity in the country by 20 times before 2025.