Green Power Research

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The prognosis of Off shore wind power in China

by Tony - January 14th, 2012.
Filed under: Offshore wind power, Wind Power. Tagged as: .

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Image of off shore wind farm

Image of off shore wind farm

I just read an article in offshorewindpowerasia.com which discussed how    China  will increase its collective grid-connected installed wind-power capacity to 55GW this year and boost its cumulative installed wind-power capacity to 100 GW by 2015. By 2020, the country plans to have 200 GW of installed capacity.

Off shore wind will be a major portion of this push to increase the power provided from wind.  China will kick off the building of a 1GW offshore wind-power project in east China’s Jiangsu province. Additionally, China will accelerate offshore wind-power projects in the eastern coastal provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang and Fujian as well as expediting progress on Shanghai’s East Sea Bridge offshore wind farm.

Furthermore, the publication stated China’s cabinet is considering a $758 billion emerging energy industrial development plan. If approved, some $227 billion of investment would flow into the wind-power sector.

China offshore wind does not need to be concerned with the issues onshore wind farms are often subject to which include restrictions based on their negative visual impact or noise limitations associated with obstructions (buildings, mountains, etc.). More importantly the genuine advantages of the offshore turbines consist of improved and more constant wind speeds and, as a consequence, higher efficiencies.

With money and technology available shouldn’t the road be clear for significant adoption? Off shore wind in China without doubt possesses the potential to meet these forecasts but this may not become a reality for two reasons. Firstly, the lack of transmission capacity to bring the wind power which is generated where the demand is and the fact local electric utilities are not incentivized to connect renewable energy projects to the grid hinder large scale adoption. The end result is an underutilization of wind power capacity in China until upgraded transmission and incentive programs are in place.

Perhaps addressing these issues is a better use for all of the capital flowing into offshore wind sector instead of producing turbines. If you built a wind farm to create its electricity wouldn’t you want the ability to harness this resource as much as you could?

Photo courtesy of treehugger.com