Exclusive article from GWEC’s members-only WindLog newsletter
With all the focus on the dramatic success in the offshore sector in Europe, it’s worth noting that China’s offshore industry is finally taking off. 1,161 MW of new installations in 2017 brought the cumulative total to 2,788, putting China in third place globally, behind the UK and Germany.
The new installations in 2017 are spread across 18 offshore wind farms, and nine of them (totalling 968 MW) are in Jiangsu Province, which continues to be the major focus of offshore development. There were four projects totalling 65 MW in Fijian Province, and the remaining five were spread across Guangdong, Zhejiang and Hebei Provinces. The market leaders in terms of turbines were Shanghai Electric (50%), followed by Goldwind (18%), Envision (17%) and CSIC (9%).
Unlike China’s onshore targets, which have been regularly exceeded, we have come to expect the offshore targets not to be met, especially the very ambitious ones set nearly a decade ago. Now, however, it seems the industry is on track and it will easily meet the national 2020 target of 5 GW, probably well ahead of time.
In addition to the national target, Jiangsu has set itself a 2020 target of cumulative installations of 3500 MW, Guangdong has a 2020 target of 2000 MW, as does Fujian province. These alone would exceed the national goal.
My bet is that we won’t be very far into the 2020s before China becomes the largest single offshore market in the world. Europe still has a strong lead overall, however, and much would have to change before China could catch up with Europe as a whole. But it is always a mistake to underestimate the speed of Chinese industry when it gets up a head of steam.