Thursday, March 22, 2012

Water stall

When China announced that it was entering the offshore wind energy arena and set some ambitious goals, it was assumed by many that they would simply do whatever it took to meet them. The assumption underlying that assumption being, the "Chinese government" can do whatever it wants to do - wherever and whenever it pleases. Apparently, that's not exactly how things get done there. (GW)

Longyuan's 200MW China offshore project stuck in limbo

March 17, 2012

Longyuan, China’s largest wind developer, is still waiting for government approval for a 200MW offshore project awarded in 2010, says the company’s chief engineer.

The company won a tender for the project at Dafeng, Jiangsu province in the first round of offshore concessions issued by China’s National Energy Administration.

However the wind farm has been severely delayed by objections to the proposed location raised by the State Ocean Administration (SOA).

Discussions with the SOA are still ongoing, Yang Xiaosheng, Longyuan’s chief engineer tells a conference in Beijing.

“We changed to a new place, and then to another place, and now a year has lapsed and it seems we have to find another new place,” he says.

None of the four offshore concession projects have started installation though two are expected to start soon, adds Yang.

The delays have raised concerns that China will not meet its goal of installing 5GW of offshore wind power by 2015.

China has only installed just over 200MW of offshore wind power to date. This includes the 102MW Shanghai Donghai bridge project completed in 2010 and Longyuan’s 99MW inter-tidal demonstration project at Rudong, Jiangsu province, connected early this year.

Yi Yuechun, deputy chief engineer at China Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design Institute, says the country has 43GW of offshore wind resources that could be exploited. So far, 16.5GW, or 38 projects, are in early stage development.
“If we don’t make it clear soon where the other 3GW will come from, it will be hard to reach the target for 2015,” he says.

Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance expect China to significantly increase offshore installations from next year, when it will install around 400MW, before reaching cumulative capacity of just over 4GW by 2015.

However this depends on additional national concession projects being awarded this year, says Demi Zhu, BNEF analyst.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) was scheduled to hand out another 1.5GW - 2GW of tenders last year but the process has been delayed. It is scheduled to be released in the first half of this year.

Yang also cautioned against rushing development of China’s offshore market, urging the government to control the pace of new installations.

“There’s still a long way to go to reach maturity. We need to build large offshore construction bases to create economies of scale. Otherwise projects will be too small and the costs too high and there will be disorderly development,” he says.


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