Offshore wind power projects gaining ground

By Mao Lijun, Wan Zhihong and Liu Yiyu (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-07 08:02
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BEIJING - Domestic energy companies are expected to submit bids for the first batch of offshore wind power projects, having combined investment of over 20.8 billion yuan ($3.06 billion), on Friday, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Prominent among the companies in the fray are China Huaneng Group, China Huadian Corp, China Datang Corp, China Guodian Corp, China Power Investment Corp, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp, Shenhua Guohua Energy Investment, China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group.

The projects are also expected to catch the fancy of equipment makers like Sinovel, Goldwind, Dongfang Electric, Shanghai Electric, Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group and Changzheng Electric, said sources.

The four offshore projects, with a total installed capacity of 1,000 mW, will come up in coastal areas of Jiangsu province. Two projects with an installed capacity of 300 mW each will be set up in Sheyang, while two 200 mW plants will be located in Dafeng and Dongtai in Binhai, Jiangsu province.

Analysts said the nation's plan to focus on offshore wind power projects underscores the sector's importance over onshore units. "They (offshore projects) will become an integral part of the nation's wind power sector," said Shi Pengfei, deputy president of the Chinese Wind Energy Association.

Other coastal provinces are also charting plans to set up offshore wind power projects. Mao Weiming, director of Jiangsu Development and Reform Commission, told China Daily recently that the province intends to develop offshore wind power projects soon.

But most of these plans are still in the initial stages and may take some time for completion, said analysts. China recently overtook Germany as the second largest wind power developer after the United States.

Analysts said the companies have to come up with answers for several issues like a complex operating environment, technology requirements and construction difficulties.

Offshore wind power in China is estimated to be in excess of 750 gW (exploitable at a height of 10 meters), much larger than the land-based wind power potential of 253 gW, said China Meteorological Administration.

The first pilot offshore wind farm in China, the Shanghai East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm, was set up in 2008. It has a total installed capacity of 100 mW, with 34 sets of 3 mW turbines supplied by Sinovel, the nation's largest wind turbine producer.

China's National Energy Administration and State Oceanic Administration have recently issued interim measure on the management of offshore wind farm development. The measures regulate every aspect of offshore wind farm development, and are generally seen as giving an impetus for the development of such projects in China.

The regulations stipulate that offshore wind farms should be developed through public tender, with detailed break ups of the offer prices for transporting power to the grid, project plans, technical abilities, and performance results. It also states that the developers must be Chinese enterprises or joint ventures in which the majority ownership vests with domestic companies.

China Daily