Chinese offshore wind edges forward

Four projects to start construction this year but 5GW by 2015 goal in doubt

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China’s National Energy Bureau is very likely to approve construction of a 102MW offshore project in east China’s Shanghai city in March or April. The second stage of the Shanghai East Sea Bridge offshore wind farm should be completed by 2014 if the approval goes ahead as planned, said Lin Yifeng, chief engineer of the Shanghai Reconnaissance and Design Research Institute.

Construction of three other offshore wind farms is due to start this year, adding another 500MW of capacity, Lin said. According to China’s 12th five-year plan for renewable energy development (2011-2015), China will have 5GW offshore wind capacity installed by 2015 and 30GW by 2020. But progress has been slow.

Gao Hongbiao, deputy general manager of Longyuan Power’s Jiangsu Offshore Wind Power Co. Ltd., doubted that the 2015 goal could be reached. He complained that it takes about two years to have a project approved, as authorisation is needed from marine, environmental and military authorities.

Shi Pengfei, vice-president of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, said that the top priority for China is to establish which areas are suitable for offshore wind power development and harmonise marine uses of these zones.

The Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong and Hainan have offshore wind power planning in place.

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