Offshore wind has been added to a list of industrial categories that will be officially "encouraged" by Chinese authorities for rapid development. The decision by the Chinese government’s economic planning agency to prioritise offshore wind has been well received by offshore wind insiders, who view it as a sign that the industry’s development will soon speed up.
Yesterday, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published revised guidance on the country’s industrial priorities, in the form of a new industrial structure catalogue. The new catalogue takes effect from 1 May, replacing a previous version, issued in 2011.
Offshore wind generator technology and equipment has been included in the "encouraged" category for new energy, as has offshore wind farm construction. As guidance for industrial investment, the NDRC catalogue is closely connected to preferential policies designed to improve access to credit, financing, land and power.
"Chinese companies have been hesitating to vigorously develop offshore wind power, because of technological bottlenecks in the industrial sector," said Xiao Han, a new energy researcher with China Investment Consulting, told Windpower Offshore. "The NDRC encouragement policy will stimulate Chinese companies to stride forward and break deadlocks in the industry." Xiao expects more companies to enter the offshore wind sector, now that the NDRC has formally selected it for priority development.
China’s offshore wind potential is significant, often cited at 200GW. The country’s first commercial offshore wind farm was completed in June 2010, and features 34 3MW Sinovel turbines. Since then, a 150MW project at Rudong has been built, powered by turbines from three manufacturers: Sinovel, Siemens and Goldwind.
But progress toward installing more and larger offshore wind farms has stalled, despite a 5GW installed capacity target for 2015 and a 30GW goal for 2020.
In 2010, four offshore concessions with a combined capacity of 1GW were awarded for waters off Yancheng, in Jiangsu province. But disagreement between various government authorities has made it impossible for the projects to move forward. This stalemate is expected to be overcome this year. The four projects should begin construction during 2013. They are:
- 300MW in Binhai, developed by Datang Renewables using Sinovel 3MW turbines
- 300MW in Sheyang, developed by China Power Investment Corporation using Sinovel 3MW turbines
- 200MW in Dafeng, developed by Longyuan Power using Goldwind 2.5MW turbines
- and 200MW in Dongtai, developed by Shandong Luneng using 3.6MW Shanghai Electric turbines.
Six other offshore wind farms expected to also begin construction this year:
- 150MW in Rudong, Jiangsu province, developed by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation
- the second 116.6MW phase of Shanghai East Sea Bridge project, using 30 3.6MW Shanghai Electric turbines
- 102MW Shanghai Lingang offshore wind farm, using 17 6MW Sinovel turbines
- 198MW Guangdong Zhuhai Guishan offshore wind farm
- and two projects in Zhejiang province.