U.K. and China Collaborate on Offshore Wind Development

power station
Nantong Power Station, a coal-fired power station in Nantong, China.

Published Sep 18, 2017 12:21 AM by The Maritime Executive

Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K. will collaborate with counterparts in China on the development of offshore renewable energy technologies.

The project, co-lead by Professor Bing Chen from Dalian University of Technology in China, has received a grant of more than £800,000 ($1.1 million) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council, and RMB2.94million ($450,000) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Chen says China has stepped up the installation of solar energy and onshore wind capacity. However, existing solar, wind and hydro resources are primarily located in the North West and South West of the vast country, and electricity transmission via the grid is already constrained. The industrialized centers along the coast do not have significant renewable energy resources available, apart from one: offshore wind energy. “The China Sea is potentially the largest offshore energy market in the world with up to 500GW capacity, a third of which is only be exploitable with floating installations,” he says.

The Chinese government believes offshore wind energy has the potential to offset as many as 340 coal-fired power stations each year. With offshore wind energy generation currently more expensive than fossil fuels in China, and a high risk of typhoon damage, the project will also look at ways of cheapening production of renewable wind energy, as well as making the supply more secure.