British expertise can help China hit ‘critical’ offshore wind targets

The UK is leading the way when it comes to offshore wind; with new reports from the Carbon Trust claiming that our expertise could help China hit a deployment target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2015.

The series of three reports, released today (2 June), reveal that the superpower faces a number of ‘technical and commercial barriers’ to reach the national Government’s long-term aim of generating 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.

China’s feed-in tariff rates have been set too low and do not offer a definitive timeframe for developers to be able to make effective investment decisions; and the reliability and performance of turbines installed off of the China coast will also be significant challenges, the Carbon Trust says.

“China’s offshore wind resource is significant and will be critical for the country to help meet its rising energy demand through developing low-carbon energy sources,” said the Trust’s technology acceleration manager Al-Karim Govindji.

“The UK has an important role in offering its experience and learning to ensure that China’s vast resource is efficiently exploited. Innovation across a number of areas will be essential to ensure targets are met and to drive cost reduction across the whole sector.”

The Trust proposes a number of policy instruments, initially developed to accelerate the rollout of offshore wind in the UK, which could be applied in China to speed up its offshore programme.

Considerations include:


  • Developing an effective, publicly funded research and demonstration programme to commercialise new cost-reducing innovations. 
  • Developing an offshore wind capital grants scheme to improve the Government’s awareness of the commercial realities of developing offshore wind in Chinese waters and support R&D and technology testing. 
  • Developing an effective, on-going price support mechanism to balance developer incentives with Government costs to ensure value for money for electricity consumers and taxpayers. 
  • Developing an effective zoning policy to accelerate planning by relaxing constraints in identified development zones. 

The report goes on to highlight the input that European companies could play in helping China grow its offshore wind market.

The Carbon Trust’s research was undertaken working closely with the wind industry in China and involved participation of over 20 Chinese companies and undertaking two workshops in Beijing.

Luke Nicholls

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