China has a big vision for wind, and appears to be wasting no time in making that vision a reality. The country recently installed its first offshore wind farm, a 102-megawatt system in the Yangtze River delta (near Shanghai slated) called the Shanghai Donghai Bridge to come online this month–but judging from the fact that Chinese officials have announced plans to request bids for three to four such large-scale offshore wind power projects, clearly this will not be the last.
Technology Review reports that the new wind-farm on the tidal flats outside Shanghai posed an engineering challenge to developers, thanks to muddy sea floors and shifting sandbars. However, it looks as if this hard-won engineering know-how will soon come in handy, as China is looking to develop the 100 to 200 gigawatts of wind energy potential available in extensive tidal flats, particularly in the coastal province of Jiangsu Province–one of six regional wind power development centers designated by Beijing last year. Each site is slated to receive at least 10 gigawatts of wind power by 2020.
How much is China willing to invest, in terms of wind? The Beijing-based energy consultancy Azure International has predicted that the country is on track to install 514 megawatts of offshore wind over the next three to four years, a $100 billion investment in up 30,000 megawatts of wind power by 2020. This would effectively double the number of offshore wind farms in China, already the world’s largest market for wind power.