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China's USD 60bn wind empire needs to grow its own blades

The domestic planting of balsa trees, a reliable component in the manufacturing of blades for wind turbines, will play a key role in China's booming wind industry.

Photo: Soeren Stache/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

In the tropical climate of China's Yunnan province, scientists are planting a key ingredient to help strengthen the country's position as the world leader in wind power: balsa trees.

Balsa, best known as a craft material for making model airplanes, is a major component of giant blades for wind turbines. China's USD 60bn wind industry sources almost all its materials domestically, but it's had to reach abroad for the lightweight wood. 

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