UK and China to open offshore wind research centre

CHINA: ORE Catapult and Chinese clean energy company TusEnergy will establish a £2 million (CNY 17.5 million) research centre to help develop innovative technologies for the offshore wind industry.

China currently has 2,788MW of installed offshore capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence (pic: Sinohydro)

The research centre in Shandong province in the east of the country will assist UK companies looking to enter the Chinese market and support the development of a 300MW offshore wind farm, the partners stated.

Research is expected to start at the centre in early 2019, ORE Catapult stated.

The two partners had signed a collaboration agreement in December 2017, in which the two organisations vowed to work together to advance offshore wind and technological cooperation between the UK and China.

Since then, ORE Catapult has organised workshops aimed at introducing UK companies to the Chinese market, and in March, was part of a UK trade mission to China.

The research centre is the next stage in developing the collaboration between Tus and ORE Catapult.

Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult’s research and innovation director, said: "China is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for offshore wind technologies, and this presents a huge opportunity for technology transfer and for UK companies to export their innovative products and services to one of our largest global trading partners."

Yingzhuo Du, senior vice president of TusEnergy, added: "The collaboration with ORE Catapult forms a bridge between two of the leading countries in the offshore renewable energy industry.

"It helps drive the cost of renewable energy down. Moreover, we expect to have new technologies developed and commercialised out of China-UK joint research projects."

The UK is the world leader in offshore wind, with 7,155MW installed as of 1 September, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

Meanwhile, China, which leads the world in overall wind capacity with more than 170GW installed, has 2,788MW offshore.

Under the 2017 collaboration agrement, TusEnergy and ORE Catapult jointly worked on a 500MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Shandong.

The project’s capacity has since been revised to "at least 300MW" but it could still "be up to as much as 500MW", an ORE Catapult spokeswoman told Windpower Monthly.

It is set to include at least 10% UK content.

At the time of the initial announcement, the two partners estimated that with UK technology making up between 10% and 15% of the demonstration project’s content.

With an estimated Capex of £3 million/MW (CNY 26.3 million, €3.3 million) for developing an offshore wind farm, the arrangement could be worth about £220 million to UK companies and universities.

This figure has also been scaled down to about £90 million. ORE Catapult did not provide a reason for either reduction.