With climate change looming, a new power source is expanding
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.