Shanghai offshore wind farm with 6 MW wind turbines

Sinovel, China’s largest wind power maker, will put a set of 6-megawatt wind turbines into operation off the coast of Shanghai in what is claimed to be the world’s first large-scale commercial application of such powerful offshore wind turbines.

Sinovel will supply Huaneng Renewables, a leading Chinese wind farm developer, with 17 units of 6-mw offshore wind turbines in the first stage of a pilot offshore wind farm in the Lingang sea area of Shanghai, Sinovel said on Thursday.

"This will be the first large-scale commercial application of 6 MW offshore wind turbines in the world," said Tao Gang, Sinovel vice-president.

Tao described the move as a milestone in tapping offshore wind power. On October 8, 2011, Sinovel installed an independently developed 6-mw prototype, so far the largest in Asia, in Sheyang county, in east China’s Jiangsu province.

In 2010, the company won a public tender to supply 34 units of 3-mw offshore wind turbines to the Shanghai East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm, the first pilot commercialized offshore wind farm in the country.

Sinovel won the Lingang offshore wind project by forming an alliance with Huaneng Renewables to defeat four rival teams in a public tender at the end of 2011.

The Lingang offshore wind farm is the second pilot offshore wind power project in Shanghai. With an investment of 1.76 billion yuan (279 million U.S. dollars), it will be completed in September 2014.

In its 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015), China will accelerate the development of offshore wind power, as the country’s best sites on land have already been taken.

China has up to 750 gigawatts (gw) of exploitable wind resources in the sea, three times that of its land-based wind resources. These offshore wind resources are found off the eastern and southern coasts, near large economic centers with growing demand for power and diminishing supplies of fossil-energy resources.

According to the National Energy Bureau, China will construct 5 gw of offshore wind projects by 2015, representing five percent of its total wind installed capacity.

To grab a slice of the promising market, other Chinese wind turbine makers are hastening their paces to develop large-capacity offshore wind turbines. In January, Guodian United Power announced it had produced a 6 MW prototype. Goldwind expects to install a 6 MW prototype in June this year.