Wind power is potentially a key energy option that can assist China in meeting its sustainability goals but at present plays only a limited role in the country's energy system. Wind resource assessment (WRA) has been identified as a key impediment to the further development of this energy source. This paper examines whether collaborative governance can help to improve WRA in China, and if so through what mechanisms.
Collaborative initiatives involving WRA in two Chinese provinces, Xinjiang and Guangdong, are reviewed. This suggests that, while the central government has an important role to play, there are many opportunities for locally based collaborative initiatives to function as an alternative, complementary approach to facilitate WRA. Contextual elements such as local resources (including leadership and local knowledge) and governance structures (such as social networks) are identified as key conditions facilitating collaboration. The paper concludes that a broader perspective placing more emphasis beyond the central government in capacity building for WRA is required to enhance the prospects for the transition to a more sustainable energy system in China. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.