However, in recent years, that growth has slowed and the hopes for China’s wind-powered future have dampened. Namely, populous coastal provinces, including Guangdong and Jiangsu, consume about 80% of China’s overall electricity, but the vast majority of China’s wind capacity comes from land-based wind farms in places like Inner Mongolia, more than a thousand miles away from most major cities.


What is more, recent climate studies have suggested that the weakening land-sea temperature gradient because of global climate change is making historically windy regions, like Inner Mongolia, less windy.

In addition, much of the wind power from those regions isn’t being used because of when it’s produced. Research has suggested that some 16% of total potential wind generation was wasted between 2010 and 2016, costing more $1.2 billion.

If China is to meet and exceed its Paris goal by 2030, it’s going to need to find a way to increase its wind capacity.

Now, in a recent study, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, found that offshore wind could be a big part of the solution.

This is an important new contribution, recognition that China has abundant off-shore wind potential that can be developed and brought on shore to the power hungry coastal provinces at costs competitive with existing coal-fired polluting power plants

explained Michael McElroy, the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at SEAS and senior author of the paper.

To calculate the capacity and cost of offshore wind in China, the researchers first identified the areas where offshore wind farms could be built, excluding shipping zones, environmentally protected areas and water depths higher than 60 meters. They calculated the wind speeds in those areas and estimated the hourly capacity for each of the turbines.

They discovered that the total potential wind power from wind farms built along the Chinese coast is 5.4 times larger than the current coastal demand for power.

Credit: Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

The researchers estimated that if electricity prices are high, offshore wind could provide over 1,000 terawatt-hours, or about 36% of all coastal energy demand. If electricity prices are low, it could provide more than 6,000 terawatt-hours, or 200 percent of total energy demand.

You may see more information in the report below

China's offshore wind opportunities