Offshore wind energy: Guangdong to construct first wind farm

South China’s Guangdong province will construct a 198-megawatt offshore wind farm this year and connect it to the grid in 2014, according to Guangdong Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. on Monday.

The wind power project, located in the Guishan waters of Zhuhai city, will be the first offshore wind farm in the province. It will be constructed with a total investment of 4.45 billion yuan (705 million U.S. dollars), mainly from China Southern Power Grid Comprehensive Energy Co. Ltd. and Guangdong Electric Power Development Co. Ltd.

Shi Lei, chief engineer of the Guangdong provincial electric power design and research institute, said , "The wind farm sits near electric power users. It is near downtown Zhuhai, and only three nautical miles from Lantau Island of Hong Kong and 17 nautical miles from Macao."

Shi said the Guishan sea area may host a wind farm of up to 250 mw, with a favorable wind speed averaging 7-8 meters per second annually.

Guangdong has one of China’s best environments for offshore wind farms. It boasts 75 gigawatts of exploitable offshore wind power resources in sea areas 30-50 meters deep.

According to the provincial offshore wind power development plan, Guangdong expects to start constructing three to four offshore wind farms, each at a 1 GW level, in 2015.

Offshore wind development is still in the early stages in China, due to complex operating environments for offshore turbines, high technological requirements and construction difficulties.

Nevertheless, China has accelerated its offshore wind sector. The country will expand its offshore wind energy installed capacity to 5 GW by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020, according to the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.