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New China offshore wind licenses to go live in 2013

China's push to drive the development of offshore wind power technology has been key to this year's wave of new projects coming onto the grid, say the organisers of Offshore Wind China 2013 to be held in Shanghai in June

Despite the considerable challenges and bottlenecks faced by China's offshore wind power market, the country's efforts in technologies for development of offshore wind power have remained strong

The first batch of offshore wind power license projects are likely to go online in 2013 thanks to years of coordination and cooperation between China’s government and domestic offshore wind power players.

So far, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces as well as Shanghai have completed their planning for offshore wind power development.

Liaoning, Fujian, Guangxi and Hainan provinces as well as the city of Dalian are currently finalising their plans. Primary statistics confirm potential wind resources along China's coasts and waterways are capable of producing 43 million kW in output. Preparations for 38 projects with designed combined capacity of 16.5 million kW in output are already under way.

In addition to technologies and difficulties in construction, offshore wind power development is still subject to two decisive factors, namely a well-designed and implemented management system and government policies governing electricity prices.

According to China's 12th Five-Year Renewable Energy Development Plan spanning 2011 to 2015, China's installed wind power capacity connected to the grid is on track to reach 100 million kW by 2015, including installed offshore wind power capacity of 5 million kW, while annual electricity generation is projected to exceed 190 billion kWh, resulting in a complete and internationally competitive industry chain for wind turbines manufacturing. By 2020, the country's combined installed grid-connected wind power capacity is expected to reach 200 million kW, including installed offshore wind power capacity of 30 million kW, while annual electricity generation is forecasted to surpass 390 billion kWh, making wind power a vital part of the grid in China.

A number China's coastal provinces are either in the process of obtaining regulatory approval or have already initiated offshore wind power projects. In Shanghai, Donghai Bridge Project Phase II and Lingang Project Phases I and II with a combined capacity of 400 MW is soon to come on line. Hebei Construction & Investment Group and GD Power Development Company will commence construction of respective 500 MW projects in Hebei province.

In Guangdong province, China Southern Power Grid has received the green light for its project in Zhuhai while Guangdong Yudean Group has been granted the approval for its project in Zhanjiang. Combined capacity of both projects is 400 MW. China Longyuan Power Group is planning a project with 400 MW capacity in Fujian province, with approval already in hand for the 50 MW-capacity first phase.