Mongolia plans to build 8 GW of wind power capacity following on from the launch of a 50 MW windfarm last week.

Developer Clean Energy Asia’s Tsetsii windfarm in Umnugobi province in the Gobi desert came online on 6 October and is able to supply 5 per cent of Mongolia’s power demand.

This week the country held a groundbreaking ceremony for the next wind project in its planned tranche, Engie’s 55 MW Sainshand plant, which is located southeast of Ulaanbaatar and is planned for commissioning next year.

The country aims to focus its wind power development on export potential in anticipation of the so-called Asian super-grid, which is planned to connect China, India, Russia, South Korea and Japan in a cross-border transmission network.

Financing for the Tsetsii project came from SB Energy, the renewables division of Japan’s Softbank, which is also behind the Asian super-grid concept. Conceived in 2011, the super-grid could use up to 36,000 km of transmission lines and submarine power cables.

Tleikhan Almalik, chair of Mongolia’s energy regulator, said in an interview with the Reuters news service that the country aims to grow its renewable capacity from the current 12 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030. According to Almalik, the six windfarms and 24 solar plants that have been licenced to date will both cover domestic demand and allow for exports.

According to the latest available figures from Mongolia’s Department of Energy, its current energy mix consists largely of coal-fired plants, which make up over 85 per cent of the total capacity, with small amounts of diesel, renewables and hydropower.