Cleanen­ergy on­the­sea

With cli­mate change loom­ing, a new power source is ex­pand­ing

ChinAfrica - - Business -

AGAINST a back­drop of blue sky and bound­less sea, a slice of pin­wheel-like white­ness shines with metal­lic lus­ter un­der the blaz­ing sun. Hav­ing with­stood the re­cent ty­phoon Hato, the colos­sus - a 5-mw wind turbine in­de­pen­dently de­vel­oped by a Chi­nese com­pany - is ex­pected to be joined by other tur­bines in Xinghua Bay, Fuqing, south­east China’s coastal Fu­jian Prov­ince.

Run by China Three Gorges Corp. (CTG), the Fuqing-based off­shore wind farm will ac­com­mo­date 14 high-power wind tur­bines, each boast­ing a gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity of at least 5 mw, man­u­fac­tured by eight for­eign play­ers in­clud­ing Gen­eral Elec­tric and ris­ing do­mes­tic play­ers like Gold­wind.

“Af­ter all the wind tur­bines are in­stalled by the end of the year, a spe­cial chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tion will be kick-started among them. By track­ing and assess­ing their tech­no­log­i­cal reli­a­bil­ity, qual­ity, out­put and cost, CTG will join hands with the most ex­cel­lent two or three pro­duc­ers to tap the abun­dant wind power re­sources in Fu­jian,” said Sun Qiang, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of CTG’S Fu­jian en­ergy in­vest­ment branch.

As is­sues like cli­mate change and ris­ing sea lev­els loom, China is un­der pres­sure to find al­ter­na­tive power gen­er­a­tion meth­ods to com­bat pol­lu­tion and green­house gases.

“Off­shore wind power is a vi­able op­tion to grad­u­ally re­place fos­sil fuel power,” said Lei Zengjuan, Vice Man­ager of CTG’S Fu­jian en­ergy in­vest­ment branch, not­ing that off­shore and on­shore wind power can com­ple­ment each other.

Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics from the Re­new­able En­ergy Pol­icy Net­work for the 21st Cen­tury, wind power con­trib­utes 16 per­cent of the to­tal power gen­er­ated by re­new­able en­ergy sources, sec­ond only to hy­dropower.

Com­pared with on­shore wind farms, off­shore ones in the same re­gion usu­ally gen­er­ate 25 to 30 per­cent more power. Wind speed at sea is more sta­ble, which re­sults in less fluc­tu­a­tion in the in­put to the power grid. And, most off­shore wind farms in China are lo­cated close to high power-con­sum­ing re­gions, so power trans­mis­sion is not a prob­lem. To top it all off, marine wind farms take up no land re­sources.

In 2016, the global in­stalled ca­pac­ity of off­shore wind power gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties in­creased by 18 per­cent to 2,219 mw. Bri­tain, the largest off­shore wind power gen­er­a­tor, ac­counted for 36 per­cent of the world’s to­tal in­stalled ca­pac­ity; and Ger­many, 29 per­cent. China, mean­while, re­placed Den­mark by tak­ing third place with 11 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics from the Global Wind En­ergy Coun­cil.

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