New milestone for domestic leader -- China dips its foot

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China has joined the club of countries seriously pursuing offshore wind power with the installation of the first 90 metre high Sinovel 3 MW wind turbine at the 102 MW Donghai Bridge wind farm project off the coast of Shanghai, in central-eastern China. It is the second offshore turbine in Chinese waters and follows the erection of a Goldwind 1.5 MW turbine on an oil platform owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in the Bohai Sea in 2007 (Windpower Monthly, January 2008).

The latest project is being developed by Shanghai Dong Hai Wind Power at a cost of CNY 2.365 billion ($346.8 million) and will consist of 34 Sinovel 3 MW wind turbines located between one and four kilometres east of the Shanghai Donghai Bridge, in waters ten metres deep. Two further turbines were scheduled for installation by last month. The other 31 are slated for commissioning by the first half of next year.

Upon completion, the plant will annually generate 267.6 GWh, enough power for 200,000 households in Shanghai. "The project will assist China in stimulating and accelerating the commercialisation of grid connected wind power technologies and markets, which are an important objective of the Chinese government," says the United Nations.

United Nations praise

"In addition, being the first offshore wind farm in China, the project will help develop experience in the construction and operation of such projects, which will open up an additional large potential for renewable energy projects offshore, in particular wind farms."

The developer is trying to alleviate impact on both the reproductive seasons of local fish and bird migration. Construction underwater is being kept as short as possible and refuse produced during building is being transported to land, according to the UN.

Construction of the plant, approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as a pilot large-scale offshore wind farm, started back in September. East China has a good wind resource while the country as a whole can reap about 100 GW of wind in offshore areas with water depths of ten metres, 300 GW in areas of 20 metre depth and 490 GW in areas of 30 metre depth, says the NDRC.

But Shi Lishan of the National Energy Administration says China still has far to go in developing technology before it can substantially exploit its offshore winds. His organisation is planning two or three more pilot offshore wind farm projects. A year ago, CNOOC confirmed plans to proceed with a 1 GW offshore wind farm off Wehai in Shangdong.

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