Floating Wind Turbines: The Future of Offshore Energy in China

The world’s first floating integrated project of offshore wind power generation and fish farming saw its construction completed off the coast of east China’s Fujian Province on Tuesday, which is expected to play a significant role in promoting China’s wind power development in the high seas.

Built on Nanri Island in Fujian’s Putian City by the China Longyuan Electric Power Group, the offshore wind power-fishery farm will soon go into operation, according to sources with China Longyuan Electric Power Group — contractor of the project.

Equipped with a 4-megawatt wind turbine and lightweight, flexible photovoltaic modules, the three-column semi-submersible floating platform can generate 16 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity per year, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of more than 6,000 ordinary households.

Besides, the platform also has a regular hexagon area for aquaculture at its center, making itself a wind power generation, solar power utilization and fish farming complex.

“On the one hand, the construction of such a project has contributed to breaking technological bottlenecks in the development of deep-sea wind farms. On the other hand, it promotes the development of deep-sea aquaculture. The integration between wind power generation and fishery can effectively reduce comprehensive cost and is conducive to guiding China’s wind power development toward deep and far seas,” said Chen Yong, person in charge of the project of the China Longyuan Electric Power Group.

Compared with traditional fixed wind turbines, the construction of floating wind turbines doesn’t require large reinforced concrete foundations, so it’s easier to build them at deep and far seas.

Moreover, such a floating structure allows it to rotate and adjust its position in accordance with different wind directions and ocean currents so as to catch more wind power.

“Floating offshore wind power systems have better economic advantages in areas with water depths greater than 70 meters. Promoting commercialization and large-scale development of floating offshore wind farms and accelerating technological innovation and cost reduction will greatly promote progress of China’s offshore wind power industry and provide strong support for green energy supply and socioeconomic development in coastal regions,” said Zhang Yiguo, chief planning engineer of the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute.

China’s cumulative installed capacity of offshore wind power exceeded 30 million kilowatts by the end of 2022, ranking the first in the world for two consecutive years, accounting for about half of the world’s total, according to the Chinese Wind Energy Association.