Wind Energy in Southern China: First Offshore Wind Farm

The proposed wind farm will employ a number of three to five megawatt wind turbines for a total capacity of 300 megawatts, and is expected to generate between 0.6 and 0.73 terawatt hours of electricity per annum.

Fujian Datang International Wind Power Development plans to invest up to 6 billion yuan (US$952 million) to build the first offshore wind farm off China’s southeastern coast.

The Liu’ao Hai wind farm will be located off the coast of Fujian province in southern China near the Liu’ao Peninsula. Fujian Datang has already invested 30 million yuan on the completion of a feasibility study and submitted the results to China’s State Energy Bureau for approval.

The offshore wind energy project will reap strong benefits from its location near the Taiwan Strait.

The strait produces a funnelling effect which helps create strong winds, making coastal Fujian an ideal location for the development of offshore wind power sites.

Due to its inclusion in the offshore wind development plan of Fujian province, which divides the sea area into four quarters each slated to provide up to 1.5 gigawatts of energy, it is hoped the project will avoid conflicts with other users of ocean resources.

Such conflicts led to delays in the development of offshore wind farms further north in Jiangsu province.

Other advantages to the selected location include modest water depth and a flat seabed in the site location, which will make the laying of foundations and cables far easier, and pre-existing land-based support facilities due to the presence of a nearby 101.6 megawatt onshore wind farm.

Fujian Datang is a subsidiary of China Datang Corporation, a wholly state-owned enterprise which is one of the five key players in China’s energy sector. Fujian Datang was established in August 2009 for the specific purpose of developing wind power resources in Fujian province.

China first began to develop offshore wind power in earnest in 2010, with the issuance of special project approvals via a tendering process.

While several of the country’s main energy players already have offshore wind farms completed or in the works, the sector in general has struggled to achieve profitability due to high construction costs and technological constraints.