China Now A Superpower In Offshore Wind Too, With Highest Installs In 2021

China Now A Superpower In Offshore Wind Too, With Highest Installs In 2021

Offshore Wind, one of the last renewable energy bastions where European manufacturers and countries still dominated, has finally seen China arrive in style in 2021. Figures shared across multiple sources including the National Energy Administration of China place China’s offshore wind capacity additions in 2021 at 17 GW. That figure takes total offshore wind capacity in China to 26 GW, just under half of total global capacity in place. In 2020, China had added just over 3 GW of offshore wind capacity, pointing to the massive surge seen in 2021. Chinese expansion  in offshore wind had been constrained until recently by transmission costs, which they seem to have finally crossed in 2020. The high domestic demand also sets up a dependable demand for domestic manufacturers looking to replicate its success in solar manufacturing.

Add almost 83 GW of solar capacity as claimed by official sources, and you have a massive 101 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity added in 2021.

China is chasing a net zero target by 2060 as set by President Xi Jinping, something that will be possible only with a strong contribution from both onshore and offshore wind, besides solar of course.

The huge Chinese resurgence in Offshore wind also means that the UK, seen as the country with the highest offshore wind capacity, is now a distant second, with its 10 GW of installed capacity till date. European worries about being overrun by the Chinese will only increase going ahead.

With coal still accounting for over 65% of total electricity supplies, the country has a massive agenda for capacity addition in renewable energy, besides nuclear, where it is one of the few large countries still going for a massive expansion of capacities. It also needs to clean up its grid for another vital reason. It is leading the world in adding EV’s to its transportation sector, a change that will demand more clean energy to truly make an impact on its emissions goals as well as actual benefit for the environment.

Chinese demand, along with growth in the US, which has set an offshore capacity target of 30 GW by 2030, is likely to power global growth, even as other strong renewable markets like India struggle, especially with offshore wind, due to its higher costs.

For China, the major surge was powered by projects developed by China Three Gorges, which added 3.1 GW of new capacity. Others include the first Sino-French venture, the 200 MW Dongtai V offshore wind farm, which is co-owned by EDF, as well as projects from China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The Taiwan Strait, which sees high speed winds typically 20% greater than those in the North Sea, are a key driver behind the rapidly emerging offshore wind market in China, with projects over 65 GW expected to be built there.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International