(OW) Operating offshore wind capacity in China has reached 31.4 GW and accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the country’s total wind capacity which has doubled from 2017 and now exceeds 310 GW, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a US-based non-profit organisation that tracks fossil and renewable energy projects worldwide.
The country, which took over the top position in installed offshore wind capacity from the UK at the end of 2021, is well on its way to reaching the government’s 2030 target of 1,200 GW five years ahead of schedule, GEM says.
The total capacity of operating wind and solar projects in China now stands at 757 GW, of which 31.4 GW is offshore wind capacity, which exceeds the operating offshore capacity of all of Europe, according to the report.
Some 75 per cent of operational offshore wind projects are located in the provinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Fujian, with Jiangsu accounting for about 12 GW, Guangdong 8.5 GW and Fujian for 3.5 GW of the total capacity.
GEM says that further 750 GW of wind and solar capacity is in the pipeline, with 379 GW of large utility-scale solar and approximately 371 GW of new wind capacity identified across projects that have been announced or are in the pre-construction and construction phases.
Around 311 GW of prospective wind capacity is onshore and 60.5 GW is offshore, with new offshore wind farms located along the east and southeast coastal areas, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Hainan.
Guangdong leads with approximately 30 GW of offshore wind projects announced or under development or construction, with Hainan coming in second with around 7 GW.
The provinces of Fujian, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu have been designated as the four emerging offshore wind power bases until 2025, with prospective capacities of 6 GW, 4.9 GW, 4.8 GW, and 3 GW of offshore wind, respectively, GEM says.
The majority of China’s additional 750 GW of wind and solar capacity is expected to come online by 2025, according to the non-profit.
“It is therefore highly likely that the provincial targets (approximately 1,371 GW for wind and solar) will be achieved, surpassing the central government’s target of 1,200 GW well ahead of 2030. This prospective capacity is enough to increase the global wind fleet by nearly 50% and grow global large utility-scale solar installations by 85% over current levels”, GEM says in the report.
Although the country is leading in operational wind and solar energy capacity, power generation in China still relies heavily on coal-fired power plants.
While renewable energy is expected to produce a third of all electricity in China by 2025, the country’s challenges with drought and reduced hydropower output in 2022 have led to the approval of 106 GW of new coal-fired power plants, according to a Reuters report from March this year.
“China is making strides, but with coal still holding sway as the dominant power source, the country needs bolder advancements in energy storage and green technologies for a secure energy future”, said Martin Weil, Researcher at Global Energy Monitor.