In the offshore wind farm race, China is easily beating the US

Peggy Liu, CEIBSFurther proof of China’s desire to aggressively tap into the still nascent, and potentially highly lucrative, offshore wind power sector as part of its plan to embrace a green energy revolution was revealed earlier this week in a story by ClimateWire.

The story, published by Environment & Energy Publishing and distributed by The New York Times, also pointed out just how much further China is ahead of the US in developing its offshore wind energy industry.

“What the U.S. doesn’t realise,” the story quoted Peggy Liu, founder and chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, as saying, is that China “is going from manufacturing hub to the clean-tech laboratory of the world.”

While noting that the Donghai Bridge Wind Farm, the first major offshore wind energy facility built outside of Europe, has been up and running in the East China Sea near Shanghai since July, and more are planned for the not too distant future, the story also pointed out there are still no offshore wind farms in the US.

In the US, the controversial 130 wind turbines Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts has received federal approval but is still fighting against a number of regulatory and legal obstacles.

Work began on the 102 MW Donghai Bridge Wind Farm, which cost about $337 million, in September 2008. A second similar phase has already been approved. According to the story, the offshore wind farm is expected to eventually generate enough electricity to power 200,000 households and cut the use of 100,000 tons of polluting coal.

“An additional four farms surrounding Shanghai are currently under negotiation, and the city hopes to complete 13 wind farms by 2020, with the majority of the expected 1,000 MW capacity supplied by offshore wind farms,” the story said.

It also noted that Barbara Finamore, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Beijing office, told Scientific American that “China has the largest wind resources in the world, and three-quarters of them are offshore.”

By Chris Rose,