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Typhoon-resistant offshore wind farm goes online

By ZHENG XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-09 09:50

The world's first typhoon-resistant floating offshore wind turbine was connected to the grid on Tuesday in Yangjiang, South China's Guangdong province, amid the country's ramped-up efforts to transition to green energy.

The project, Sanxia Yinling Hao, consists of the typhoon-resistant floating offshore wind turbine and China's first floating wind turbine platform, with an installed capacity of 5.5 megawatts per unit, according to its operator, China Three Gorges Corp.

It signals that China has taken the global lead in research, manufacturing, installation and operation of large-scale typhoon-resistant floating offshore wind turbines, said the company, which is also the developer of the world's largest hydropower project, the Three Gorges Dam, which broke ground in 1994 in Hubei province.

The unit is designed to resist strong waves seen on average once every 50 years and is therefore able to resist the strongest of typhoons, it said.

Analysts said that as China's push to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 draws increasing attention to wind power, moving wind farms to deeper waters helps eliminate some of the challenges facing offshore wind power facilities and helps expand turbine fleets.

The platform will make a contribution to China's exploration of typhoon-resistant technology for offshore wind turbines, said Wang Ziyue, an analyst at research firm BloombergNEF.

"While the development of floating offshore wind turbines in China is more than 10 years behind developed countries, China is likely to overtake other countries in the sector with rich offshore wind resources," he said.

"Despite the fact that the cost of floating offshore wind power projects is still relatively high, which limits their large-scale development, many domestic offshore wind equipment suppliers and developers are actively exploring the sector and accumulating experience. Floating offshore wind turbine costs are likely to drastically decrease once we achieve scale production," Wang said.

Wang added that many supportive preferential policies from national and local governments will also further facilitate floating offshore wind power projects in China.

China Three Gorges Corp said it has been pushing forward its new energy projects to ensure sufficient energy supply in the country, which will also facilitate the government's ambition to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The company saw its monthly generating capacity achieve a record high of 49.5 billion kilowatt-hours in September, contributing to 6.7 percent of the country's total power production. The country's total installed capacity of offshore wind power was 9 gigawatts by the end of 2020, ranking second globally. China's new offshore wind capacity reached 3.06 GW in 2020, approximately half the global total.

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