UK wind and marine tech companies scent opportunity in the wind in the South China Sea, reports Mark Hillsdon
What Chinese manufacturing has achieved with onshore renewables, it is now looking to replicate offshore, with a target to install 5GW of offshore wind turbine capacity in the South China Sea by 2020.
While Chinese manufacturers are world leaders in onshore renewables, there is acceptance that China may need to look beyond its shores for the technology it needs.
British companies, acknowledged world leaders in offshore wind technology, see a huge opportunity.
The South China Sea is potentially the largest offshore energy market in the world with up to 500GW capacity, explains Professor Lars Johanning, professor of ocean technology at the University of Exeter. It also offers the most effective way to power the cities along the country's eastern seaboard.
A key problem is that over three quarters of the offshore wind potential in China is located in typhoon areas
“China has stepped up the installation of solar energy and onshore wind capacity. However, the industrialized centres along the coast do not have significant renewable energy resources available, apart from one: offshore wind energy,” says Johanning.
One key problem is the fact that over three quarters of the offshore wind potential in China is located in areas exposed to typhoon risks, Johanning says.