China’s offshore wind sector continued to ride high in 2022, boosted by a programme of government subsidies that wrapped up at the end of 2021.

A recent Clarksons report shows that as of early this year, China has put 114 offshore wind farms on the grid, involving 5700 turbines with total capacity of 28.6 gigawatts — twice the capacity of the UK, its closest rival in installed wind capacity.

China’s National Energy Administration says the capacity is actually 30.46 GW.

Of the 114 offshore wind farms, nine were put on stream last year, comprising 507 turbines with total capacity of 3.8 GW, accounting for 47% of the total offshore wind capacity put online worldwide in 2022.

Another 35 offshore wind farms are under development offshore China with a total 15.9 GW capacity, which is about 46% of the total offshore wind farms currently being built worldwide.

Even though China operates only one floating offshore wind farm, another five are under development with capacity of 234 megawatts, two of which will incorporate turbines of 16 MW, the world’s largest.

Chinese offshore wind giant China Three Gorges has begun a trial run of the country’s maiden floating wind project, the 400 MW Yangxi Shapa 3 wind farm offshore Yangjiang City in Guangdong province.

One of the floating wind projects is being developed by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which will soon install the country’s first deep-water floater for an offshore wind farm in the South China Sea’s Beibu Gulf.

The floater, billed as Haiyou Guanlan, is equipped with a 35-metre central column flanked by three side columns and will be installed in water depths of 120 metres about 136 kilometres offshore Yangjiang city.

The facility incorporates a 7.25 MW turbine to be provided by Shanghai Electric.

The 22 million kilowatt hours of electricity to be generated per annum from the floating wind farm will be sent via a 136-kilometre cable to the Wenchang oil complex in the South China Sea, helping to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 22,000 tonnes per annum, the operator says.

Floating wind

Chinese government officials and offshore wind specialists have just given the go-ahead to a feasibility study for a project in southern China’s Hainan province that could become the country’s first commercial offshore floating wind farm.

The study involves the first phase of the wind farm project, which will be installed offshore Wanning city and have a total capacity of 1 GW per annum.

The first phase covers facilities for a 200 MW offshore wind farm in an area of 233 hectares, 20 kilometres southwest of Wanning. Phase one will come online in 2025, with the 800 MW second phase due on stream in 2027.

When completed in 2027, the project will be able to generate 4.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Jiangsu province in eastern China leads the country’s offshore wind development, currently accounting for 41% of China’s total offshore wind power generation capacity.

Guangdong province in the south is working hard to catch up: of the total new offshore power generation capacity, 30% is located in Guangdong, according to the report.

Chinese turbine fabricators, such as Shanghai Electric, lead the world in research and development of large offshore wind turbines. Turbines with capacity of up to 18 GW are being built and those of 20 GW and beyond are under research and development.

The number of offshore wind installation vessels in China rose 13.3% last year to 290 units, but the average utilisation rate dropped to 63%, down from 2021’s 92%, the report said.

Chinese yards signed contracts last year to build 20 offshore wind installation vessels, five heavy lift vessels and nine offshore wind farm maintenance vessels.

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