In a written notice dated 5 June, the NEA said the feef-in tariff (FIT) rates for offshore wind will be CNY 0.85 ($0.13) per kilowatt hour, with intertidal installations on CNY 0.75/kWh.
Developers of offshore wind power are now being encouraged to participate in public tenders for concession projects. But the prices of the winning bids should be lower than the benchmark prices.
The new rates apply to offshore projects launched before 2017. A revised benchmark pricing scheme will be announced later for projects launched during or after 2017. The revision will be made by taking into consideration technological advancements and changes in project development cost, as well as the outcome of previous concession tendering, the NEA notice said.
The lack of an offshore wind price policy has been blamed on the slow development of China's offshore sector. Statistics compiled by the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) show the country installed only 430MW offshore by the end of 2013.
CWEA's end-2013 figure for China's total onshore wind installations amounted to 92GW, not all of which is connected to the grid. The benchmark pricing scheme for onshore wind was introduced in July 2009, which divided the country into four types of regions according to different wind conditions and awarded prices of CNY 0.51, CNY0.54, CNY 0,58 and CNY 0.61 per kilowatt hour.
China's official target for offshore wind is a total of 5GW in capacity by the end of 2015. According to NEA sources, the offshore wind projects scheduled for launch in 2014 and 2015 stand at 1.87GW and 3.75GW respectively.