China Must Evaluate First Offshore Wind Projects Before Next Phase, Says Li Jufeng
Speaking at the Offshore Wind China 2012 conference Li Jufeng, director of the China Renewable Energy Industries Association, said that the country must “evaluate” the results of its first offshore concession projects before issuing tenders for the next phase.
“Officially, the first offshore concession projects still exist. But in reality, they have all ended,” said Li, as reported in Windpower Monthly. “The locales for the projects have changed. The water depth of the sea areas have changed. The types of offshore wind turbines will surely change.”
The result of the public tender process, comprising four 200 megawatt projects in Yancheng, northeastern Jiangsu, was announced at the end of 2010. According to Windpower Monthly the plans for the projects had to be substantially reduced or moved farther away from the coastline as a result of disagreements between the energy industry and the State Oceanic Administration. In addition, limited state subsidies for the projects mean they are likely to lose money when they go into operation, according to the publication.
Currently only two offshore wind projects, off Shanghai and Rudong, are in operation in China.
Changing technology in the three years since the first projects were established meant that China would have to consider the “scientific nature, seriousness and manoeuvrability” of second round of concession projects, Li said.
“We will evaluate the first concession projects and put an end to it before considering the second concession projects,” he said. “Otherwise, there is not much practical significance to talk about the second concession projects.”
However energy law expert John Yeap of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that recognition of the challenges surrounding offshore wind in China from the industry was “encouraging”.
“It is most encouraging to hear comments from Mr Li which recognise some of the past challenges of offshore wind projects in China and seek to implement practical solutions for future projects,” he said. “If these challenges can be effectively addressed then this will surely be good news for the further development of offshore wind power market in China.”
Offshore WIND staff, June 6, 2012; Image: SIDRI