The mainland's wind power generating capacity will jump 71 per cent to 82 per cent this year after more than doubling last year but the industry needs to solve problems such as quality and sustainability, according to industry officials. A lack of incentives for power distributors to link their grids to remote wind farms, an immature tariff system and shortage of locally made key components are key hurdles in the sector's development, they said. At an energy conference yesterday, China Wind Energy Association vice-president Shi Pengfei said some 3,000 megawatts (MW) of wind farms were installed last year, bringing the total to 5,600 MW. However, according to figures released last week by China Electricity Council, the year-end capacity connected to grids stood at just 4,030 MW, implying 1,570 MW of the installed facilities remains untapped. 'Due to a lack of some implementation details in the renewable energy law, power distributors are not keen in connecting their grids' to wind farms, Mr Shi said. The law says distributors must buy all output generated by renewable energy projects, and additional expenses will be compensated by higher permitted tariffs. Mr Shi said as the authority did not stipulate how the law should be implemented, grid operators were reluctant to buy wind power since supply was unstable. Also, as an average wind farm operates about 2,000 hours a year, against the more than 5,000 hours of a coal-fired plant, grid firms would need to provide many 'additional services' to ensure stable supply of wind power to end-users. Still, Mr Shi predicted that the sector would see 71 per cent growth in installed capacity to 9,600 MW this year, rising to between 16,000 MW and 20,000 MW by the end of 2010. Mr Shi said the government system to award projects encouraged capacity growth at the expense of quality. The original system granted projects based on proposals for the lowest tariff. However, that has been cut to 25 per cent of a bid's merits. In addition, the tariff is no longer based on the lowest bid, which has been replaced by an average of the submitted bids. In 2005, Mr Shi recommended a fixed-tariff mechanism as seen in nations such as Germany. Wang Jiafu, China business development director for Ireland-based wind farm developer Airtricity, said the mainland industry also faced global tight supply of key components, some of which have to be imported as domestic makers still lagged behind in quality.