The Shanghai region, highly urbanized, does not, unlike the western regions, large meadows. The first offshore wind farm in China and one of the largest outside Europe, is well off of Shanghai, near the Donghai Bridge, the longest bridge in the world. The investment was 2.3 billion yuan (264 million euros) for 34 turbines of 3 MW, with an installed capacity of 102 MW and an annual production of 260 GWh. However, locally, the wind farm commissioned in July this year, contributes less than 1% of the energy consumption of the city.
By 2020, four offshore wind farms should be built off the coast of Shanghai, with the goal of reaching 1 GW, the equivalent of 5% of the city’s needs. Currently, energy used to power the fleet of the World Fair, but thereafter may supply more than 200,000 homes.
The location of this project has two advantages: it does not require alienation of agricultural land, important topic in China, and it shows the location of energy production close to consumption areas, which reduces transmission losses . However, offshore wind requires more advanced technology, including corrosion, and generates higher costs in particular due to maintenance.
The limitation of wind development resides in the network connection problems, which must be overcome to achieve the announced capacity. In this perspective, China is establishing a large national network to support extremely high voltages.