China reports 16.9GW new offshore wind in 2021

Government figures show doubling of offshore wind capacity year-on-year as developers scramble to claim tariff

Offshore wind developers in China scrambled to complete projects before the country's feed-in tariff expired at the end of 2021 (pic credit: MingYang Smart Energy)

China has more than doubled its offshore wind capacity, from less than 10GW at the end of 2020 to 26.4GW at the end of 2021, according to National Energy Administration (NEA) figures reported in Chinese state-owned broadcaster CCTV.

The country reportedly added 47.57GW of wind power capacity in 2021, of which 16.9GW was offshore.

It is unclear whether all of this new Chinese capacity is both fully installed and grid-connected – even though this was a requirement for offshore wind farms being eligible to claim the expiring feed-in tariff before the end of 2021 – Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) analyst Feng Zhao noted. However, Zhao added that the NEA normally reports grid-connected capacity in its renewables statistics.

Zhao added: “Having the majority of the projects that kicked off the construction in the past two years – since the announcement of the feed-in tariff deadline – being able to claim the tariff is a good thing for the Chinese offshore wind industry as it helps to offset some of the initial investment made by Chinese utilities and developers.

“To get offshore wind projects built off the entire Chinese coast, development at some locations had to start from scratch and huge investment was made for vessels and infrastructure such as port and grid. In any case, the Chinese wind industry should be applauded for its effort and achievement.”

He added that China had mobilised more than 20 offshore wind turbine installation vessels in 2021 in a bid to meet the deadline, either from building new installation vessels or repurposing oil and gas vessels, or leasing from Europe and Middle East.

Last year China installed a record-breaking 100GW of wind and solar capacity, according to the NEA, the first year in its 14th Five-Year Plan, which covers the period to 2025. The five-year plan targets an 18% reduction in China’s CO2 per unit of GDP, a 20% share for non-fossil energy in total energy consumption, and the construction of “large-scale clean energy bases”.

China has a pipeline of about 100GW of wind and solar farms under development, with three-quarters under construction, according to the NEA.