World news story

UK-China Off-shore Wind Project to catalyse cooperation

The UK-China Off-shore Wind Co-operation Project was launched on 9 April with a Workshop in Beijing.

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Tim Yeo (left) and Bernard McNelis with Workshop Proceedings
Tim Yeo (left) and Bernard McNelis with Workshop Proceedings

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has set a target of 5 gigawatts (GW) of off-shore wind power (OSW) by 2015 as part of the 12th Five year plan, with a projection of 30 GW by 2020. Over the next 5 years, off-shore wind will expand at a high rate, and China is expected to be the largest offshore wind market outside Europe by 2020.The UK is currently the world’s largest user of and market for OSW. The current installed capacity is 2.4 GW with 40 GW expected by 2020. UK project developers are interested to have a variety of suppliers, including Chinese, and it is widely expected that China with its capital and labour resources will in time be able to manufacture OSW turbines at low-cost compared with Europe.

Against this background, the British Embassy Beijing (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, FCO) and the NEA have contracted IT Power and the China Hydro Power Design Institute (CHPDI) to prepare Case Studies of UK and China OSW projects and to provide study tours and training. China wants to quickly develop policies and support mechanisms which will make it possible to achieve its ambitious targets.

The Workshop was opened by Li Peng, Division Chief in the NEA, and John Edwards, Counselor at the British Embassy. The project Work Plan was presented by Zhu Li (IT Power) and Wang Tao (NEA). IT Power brought two engineers from the UK for the Workshop. Joe Hussey presented outlines of seven UK wind farms, and now three of these are being selected for detailed study. Dr. Mark Leybourne reported on the latest developments in offshore platforms and floating turbines. The Crown Estate Guide to OSW was translated to Chinese (with permission) and distributed at the Workshop. A panel of experts led the discussion of the Work Plan, chaired by Wang Jixue, Deputy Director, CHPDI and Bernard McNelis, IT Power. A study tour and training programme in the UK in summer 2013 is being planned.

It is expected that this project will catalyse significant UK-China cooperation.

The Workshop was fortunate to include a guest appearance by Tim Yeo M.P., Chairman of the UK’s Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, and former Environment Minister. He takes a special interest in China.

In closing the Workshop Mr. Yeo said:

Britain and China both have ambitious plans for Offshore Wind Power. We both take the long-term view of the need to reduce carbon emissions and offshore wind is part of the solution. Working together we can build an industry which will drive down costs and make OSW fully competitive.

The project Teams are now working on the Case Studies and a Road Map for Chinese companies to enter the UK market. A Study Tour to the UK is being planned for July.

Published 22 April 2013