Guangdong province, China's southern economic powerhouse, has rolled out ambitious initiatives to develop the offshore wind industry, aiming to become the province with the most offshore wind farm capacity by 2025.

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The provincial government's latest plan, released in early June, calls for the province to expand its offshore wind power generation capacity to 4 gigawatts by the end of this year, and further expand it to 18GW by 2025.

That is when Guangdong is set to become the first Chinese province to reach offshore wind electricity-pricing grid parity with traditional electricity-generation feedstocks such as coal.

The country has been offering subsidies to renewable energy projects since 2011. As the cost for renewable energy projects is coming down, China is trying to phase out its national supporting policies for renewable energy before 2030, when all the projects powered by renewable energy are expected to achieve grid price parity with other energy feedstocks.

Two offshore wind bases are planned, with one each in the province’s west and east, having minimum annual generation capacity of 10GW.

In eastern Guangdong, local authorities will build 12GW of offshore wind farms, of which 6GW will be commissioned by 2025.

In the west, another 10GW of offshore facilities will be developed, with 5GW to be operational by 2025.

The province will boost its capacity to produce 900 units of offshore wind turbines per annum by 2025, the government said in a circular, without giving the turbines' capacity.

In 2019, one of China's top offshore wind turbine fabricators, Shanghai Electric, launched the country’s first 8MW offshore wind turbine, based on Siemens Gamesa technology in Guangdong's Shantou city.

Local subsidies

Meanwhile, three bases will be built in Yangjiang, Jieyang and Shanwei cities for offshore wind farm operation and maintenance.

These plans will be supported by a new scheme, just announced by Guangdong provincial government, to continue providing subsidies to offshore wind farm operators after the central government scraps similar subsidies by the end of this year.

Under the new rule, the local Guangdong government will subsidise those offshore wind projects that are approved before the end of 2018 and which will be brought online between 2022 and 2024.

No subsidies will be provided for projects coming online after 2025.

Specifically, the Guangdong government will subsidise 1500 yuan ($234) for each kilowatt of offshore wind capacity built in 2022, 1000 yuan per kilowatt for those built in 2023 and 500 yuan per kilowatt for those constructed in 2024.

Under the current policy, offshore wind projects that have secured approval in 2019 and 2020 have to be commissioned before the end of 2021 to be eligible for a national subsidy of 0.85 yuan ($0.13) for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

In China, 32GW of offshore wind projects are planned for construction in the next five years.

Renewable energy led by offshore wind is a natural choice to achieve the central government's target of peak emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, the circular said.