The UK’s world leadership position in offshore wind could be critical in helping China overcome a number of key barriers to developing its vast offshore wind resource. According to a series of new reports by the Carbon Trust the UK, with more than a decade of experience in offshore wind deployment, can play a key role in helping China develop its offshore wind potential.
China has set a number of targets in relation to offshore wind including a deployment target of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2015 and 30 GW by 2030. At present some 1GW of near shore projects are under development but are facing a number of technical and commercial barriers in moving forward at the rate required to meet the government targets. Barriers include uncertainty over an effective and efficient long-term pricing policy that is needed by project developers while ensuring consumers are protected from high costs, a slow consenting regime and the lack of a focused innovation program to drive costs out of the deployment process.
Commenting on the report Al-Karim Govindji, of the Carbon Trust said: “China’s offshore wind resource is significant and will be critical for the country to help meet its rising energy demand through developing low carbon energy sources. The UK has an important role in offering its experience and learning to ensure that China’s vast resource is efficiently exploited. Innovation across a number of areas will be essential to ensure targets are met and to drive cost reduction across the whole sector.”
The new research proposes a number of policy instruments, developed to accelerate the roll out of offshore wind in the UK, be applied to China to speed up their offshore program and help ensure government targets are met in a cost effective way. The research was undertaken working closely with the wind industry in China and involved participation of over 20 Chinese companies and undertaking two workshops in Beijing.
The new research concluded that China should consider:
• Developing an effective publicly funded research and demonstration program to commercialize new cost reducing innovations.
• Developing an offshore wind capital grants scheme to improve the government’s awareness of the commercial realities of developing offshore wind in Chinese waters and support research and development and technology testing.
• Developing an effective on-going price support mechanism to balance developer incentives with government costs to ensure value for money for electricity consumers and tax payers.
• Developing an effective zoning policy to accelerate planning by relaxing constraints in identified development zones.