Chinese wind chief argues for offshore 'postponement'

CHINA: China has 2,380GW in onshore wind power resources and 200GW in offshore wind power resources that are potentially usable, according to a new study.

Shanghai East Sea Bridge Wind Farm is one of China's recent offshore developments
Shanghai East Sea Bridge Wind Farm is one of China's recent offshore developments

The findings run against the traditional belief that China has larger offshore wind power resources than land-based resources. As a result Shi Pengfei, vice-president of China Wind Energy Association had proposed postponing the country's offshore development.

The research was made by the Wind Energy and Solar Energy Resources Evaluation Centre, which runs under China Meteorological Administration.

Speaking about the study, Shi said the centre assessed the country’s land-based and offshore wind power at 50 meters above sea-level through 400 measuring towers. These used a numerical simulation and assessment system, in areas where wind power density is larger than 300watts/square meter.

Traditionally, China is believed to have a total of 1,000GW exploitable wind power resources. These are separated into 250GW for land-based and 750GW for offshore wind power, largely in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu and the eastern coastal areas.

Offshore wind power resources were calculated in depths of 2-to-25 meters, which are ideal for inter-tidal wind farms and near-sea offshore wind farms.

Shi said: "This research result does not support the popular view that China has richer offshore wind power resources."

East China’s Jiangsu Province has the largest number of projects to develop offshore wind power. The province has an ambitious target to install 10.75GW offshore wind power by 2020.

In April 2009, China’s National Energy Bureau required coastal provinces to map out offshore wind power development plans and put forward near-term and early-stage development programs. It decided to select a number of sites to experiment with offshore wind farm construction.

On May 18 this year, China officially kicked off effort for public tender of 1,000MW intertidal and offshore wind farms in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, which are separated into Binhai, Sheyang, Dafeng and Dongtai. The public tender will begin in August or early September.

Shi said "China needs to experiment with these four intertidal and offshore wind farms in the first place. If they involve too high costs, I propose that China may postpone developing offshore wind farms in large scales."

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