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China Commissions Offshore Wind Power Giving It Largest Installed Base

China offshore wind farms
Wind farm in Quangdong is China's deepest offshore farm and includes turbines designed to withstand a typhoon (SASAC)

Published Dec 31, 2021 6:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

China is moving quickly with its efforts to expand power generation from offshore wind farms. In the past week alone, the country reported the commissioning of three new projects, including China’s largest offshore wind farm with the largest turbines, the first floating offshore wind farm that is typhoon-resistant, and expansion of projects in eastern China.

China’s National Statics Administration recently announced that the country had reached 11.2 GW of installed offshore wind generation capacity. That would be up from 7.9 GW at the end of the first half of 2021 and would give China the largest operational base of offshore wind farms. The U.K. had been the global leader at the end of 2020 with 10.2 GW of generation capacity from offshore wind farms.

The new wind farms are helping China to overcome some of the challenges that have been seen to limit the development of offshore wind farms. The new farms include floating technology and turbines capable of withstanding the high winds and waves associated with a typhoon.

“At present, wind farms are mainly located in the northwestern part of China, while eastern provinces have the largest electricity consumption,” explained the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy that is part of Xiamen University. The development of offshore wind farms is seen as a critical step for the eastern regions which have limited land resources to establish wind farms.

Construction was completed on a 300 MW offshore wind farm in the South China Sea. It is China’s deepest offshore wind farm located in an area of challenging sea conditions with complex topography and geological conditions. The builders had to address typhoons, thunderstorms, and swells. The first of the turbines in the area was connected to the power grid in January and has generated 180 million kWh of electricity. Once fully in use, the project near Nanpeng Island in Guangdong province is expected to produce 800 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

The floating offshore wind turbine installed at Guangdong and developed in China is designed to resist a Grade 17 typhoon, which would be a superstorm once every 50 years. The turbine has a capacity of 5.5 MW.

China’s largest offshore wind farm in terms of single-unit capacity was also connected to the power grid on December 25. In Jiangsu province near the city of Qidong in eastern China, the farm has seven different models of wind turbines for a total of 134 installed. The first turbine was erected in February with the last completed in early December. It is part of an overall project located about 18 to 25 miles offshore in the Yellow Sea which will have a total capacity of 802 MW. 

The first phase of the Guodian Xiangshan 1 Offshore Wind Farm project in East China's Zhejiang Province became fully operational on December 23. It has 41 6.2-megawatt wind turbines connected to a 220-kilovolt offshore booster station. It is the second offshore wind power project developed by GD Power Development Co. giving the company a total of 506,200 kilowatts of installed offshore wind power capacity put into operation in the province. The Xiangshan 1 wind power project, the first offshore wind power project in Ningbo, started on December 25, 2020.

The wind power projects are part of the country’s effort to reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants. China’s goal is for carbon dioxide emissions to peak by 2030. The country declared it will be carbon neutral by 2060.