China has launched the first major offshore wind farm outside of Europe.

China’s 102-megawatt Donghai Bridge Wind Farm, which has begun transmitting power to the national grid, is located in the East China Sea, near Shanghai. It is seen as signalling a new direction for Chinese renewable energy projects and the initiation of a national policy focusing increasingly on offshore wind.

The $us337 million project is located 8 to 13 kilometres from the coast. It has been erected on soft seabed conditions using a multi-pile foundation structure. During low tide, the turbine foundations are exposed; during high tide, they become submerged in about 5 meters of water. Unlike Europe, which is much more focused on developing deepwater turbine technology, China is exploring unique foundation technology for shallower water.

Construction of the Donghai project’s second phase has been approved. It is also projected to produce about 100 megawatts. Another four farms surrounding Shanghai are currently under negotiation and the city hopes to complete 13 wind farms by 2020.

In all, the Chinese government is planning for 30 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind farms by 2020 but industry insiders believe that this target will be greatly exceeded.

Donghai Bridge (public domain image)
Donghai Bridge (public domain image)