China first with deepwater wind power target

The IEA today released an English-language summary of the China Wind Energy Technology Roadmap prepared by the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute with close technical support from the International Energy Agency (IEA) based in Paris.


The roadmap defines the path for China to achieve 1 Terawatt – 1000 GW – wind capacity by 2050. This would produce 17% of the country’s electricity, up from 1% today. Achieving the goals of the Roadmap would let China, already the world’s largest wind power market, reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 gigatonnes per year (GT/y) in 2050, roughly equivalent to the combined 2009 emissions of Germany, France and Italy.


Interesting for HiPRwind, and ignored by most Western commentators, is to note that the China roadmap is the first to set specific targets for deep water. The number defined for “far-shore” (which in Chinese seas nearly equates to deep water) is 50 GW, as compared to a “practical near offshore wind capacity” of 500 GW at less than 50 m depth.


While not as dominant as the deepwater wind potentials of Japan, US or Norway, China thus presents a substantial deep-water opportunity, and the Roadmap gives clear priorities for how this can be realised with action plans sketched for e.g., infrastructure, maritime industries and supply chains.


The first deepwater farms are foreseen from 2020 onwards and will employ “super-large” floating turbines of 10 MW or more, installed at depths of 50 to 200 m. Whereas the roadmap expects all on-shore wind to be competitive without subsidies by 2020, deepwater feed-in tariffs will remain substantial even by 2050 reflecting the higher cost. As for R&D, China has already activities specifically for deepwater, which should be up to full speed before 2015.


Hyperwind already pointed out China as an offshore wind powerhouse in our coverage of the Pike resport on world market outlook (see story of 11/08/11). Until now, however, many foreign observers have thought China would concentrate on its vast onshore areas and only “tiptoe” towards offshore via the large inter-tidal zones along its eastern/southeastern coast. The new Roadmap sends a strong signal that also farshore and deepwater areas are a clear target.


For your convenience the English summary can be downloaded directly from



Those who read Mandarin may find the full document via the IEA website Chinese section here.


Sources: IEA Open, Energy Technology Bulletin issue 81, 20.12.2011 and related press comments.

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