Denmark assists China taking a quantum leap in offshore wind

By State of Green, June 15, 2018

Earlier this week, the Chinese Minister of Energy, Nur Bekri, signed an agreement with Denmark on the development of offshore wind farms in China. This happens at a time where the market accelerates at such speed that a Chinese 2020 goal on 5,000 MW offshore wind may be achieved ahead of schedule.

China is establishing onshore wind farms at a staggering pace, and now the time has come for the ocean areas. China is investing massively in offshore wind, and they are asking for Danish assistance in developing the market.

At their third meeting, the Chinese Minister of Energy, Nur Bekri and the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Lars Chr. Lilleholt, agreed on a close cooperation – or as the Danish Minister tweeted from China:

– It was a pleasure meeting with the Chinese Minister of Energy, Nur Bekri, and signing the offshore wind agreement. We will assist in making tenders of offshore wind farms in China, which will decrease the emission of coal and CO2 and, hopefully, increase export and Danish jobs.

-Related news: The Chinese ministry of energy visits denmark to learn more about offshore wind

The agreement on offshore wind adds another layer to the energy cooperation between Denmark and China that has existed for a number of years, which – among other things – has resulted in the establishment of a centre for sustainable energy in Beijing(CNREC).

CNREC delivers analysis and recommendations to decision makers in China regarding the adaptation of wind electricity into the Chinese electricity system. Today, many wind turbines are stopped because the Chinese power plants are less flexible than the Danish ones, and this waste of CO2 neutral electricity is not beneficial for the green transition.

Tomorrow’s technologies are ‘made in China’
The new China, led by president Xi Jinping, has a clear ambition to develop tomorrow’s technologies itself, the Danish Ambassador in China, A. Carsten Damsgaard, believes. At the Energy summit last week, he participated in a discussion on the Danish-Chinese relations.

With the 13th five-year plan running until 2020, China will increase the share of wind produced electricity from 15 percent (currently 10 percent), and the expansion of solar cells and other green solutions in the area of energy efficiency are booming as well.

A. Carsten Damsgaard assesses that China is entering a phase, where the country’s many technicians develop the technologies themselves. In other words, they are transitioning from copying others to innovating themselves.

China is not yet leading in offshore wind, even though they established 1,161 MW offshore energy in 2017, according to The Global Wing Energy Council. With this, China reached an installed effect of 2,788 MW and a global third place following Great Britain and Germany. China’s goal is to have 5,000 MW offshore wind running by 2020 and another 10,000 MW under construction so the development is gathering speed.

-Related news: Chinese mayors return to Denmark to explore green solutions

‘We receive orders all the time’
The majority of the wind turbines are installed in the Jiangsu province north of Shanghai and the development has continued this year, which indicates that the 2020 goal will be achieved ahead of schedule.

-China has been working on this for 3-4 years and is now taking a quantum leap. We have installed around 1,000 MW and we receive orders all the time, said offshore expert Peter Thorsted from Envision, one of the leading producers in the Chinese offshore wind market.

The Chinese owned company Envision has an innovation centre in Denmark so there is an ongoing transfer of know-how to China. While most other operators in the Chinese offshore wind market try to match the sizes of the European wind turbines (up to 8MW), Envision is a bit more conservative and is primarily establishing wind turbines at 4-5 MW gathered in farms at around 300 MW.

-Because we believe that this size is a better fit for the Chinese market, when we look at reliability, supply chain maturity, wind resources and Balance of Plant conditions (everything else than wind turbines) for achieving the best levilized cost of energy, said Peter Thorsted.

Peter Thorsted explained that the market is still in the making, and many conditions are different compared to the Northern Sea: The waters off Jiangsu don’t offer as much wind; the tide is powerful; it is very shallow – which means that big installation ships are not useable; fish farming takes up a lot of space and the local harbours are relatively small. In addition, the onshore electric infrastructure must keep up.

-When we go to the the wind farm areas, we have to work our way through the fish farming ponds and fight through the tide. We have a maximum of six hours to operate in so this presents some difficulties, also regarding maintenance, said Peter Thorsted.

He thinks that the Chinese are very good at adapting European knowledge to local conditions, but also that they have a lot to learn in the whole process from planning to installation to operation and maintenance.

-Denmark has 25 years of experience in making it efficient, profitable and safe. From a Danish perspective, we can stay in the lead by learning from what we can do differently, said Peter Thorsted and mentions that with the development in China, Taiwan and USA, the offshore wind farm market is now expanding from the Northern Sea to becoming a global phenomenon with intensified competition and opportunities.

Source: Danish Energy

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