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Offshore wind to power record-breaking bridge in China

Goldwind given go-ahead to deploy five turbines to light up 16km Pingtan rail-road bridge

China’s first off-grid offshore wind farm has been given the go-ahead to power a record-breaking bridge currently being built off the country’s coast.

The five-turbine project – being billed as ‘China’s first distributed offshore wind farm – will light up the Pingtan Cross-Sea road-rail bridge when it opens next year after seven years of construction.

The 676m yuan ($86m) 33MW wind project will install 6.7MW Goldwind turbines after receiving final approval from the local Fujian government.

The 16.34km bridge will connect Fujian’s Changle city and five islands off the Haitan coast. It is China’s first, and the world’s longest bridge of its type to be built in the sea. The site of the bridge is known as one of the windiest spots in China.

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Goldwind subsidiary Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Corp (Tianrun) is the developer of the first-of-its-kind off-grid offshore wind project.

Lesser-known than its turbine OEM mother company, Tianrun operated 6.4GW of wind projects in China by 2018, with 11GW approved in the pipeline. It was the seventh-largest wind developer in China in terms of new installation last year.

The Pingtan project’s power price was not disclosed. According to Beijing’s new policy unveiled this year, distributed wind projects can either negotiate prices directly with end-users or adopt government-set directory prices. That means Tianrun could lock in a rate of at least 800 yuan/MWh ($112/MWh) for the project.

The project is a boost for China’s development of off-grid wind, which has progressed slowly in the past years despite the release of a supportive policy in 2017. The first project of this sort, a 7.5MW wind farm built at Xudapu Nuclear Power Plant at Liaoning province, only began commercial operation in January.

Eight provinces in China have revealed plans to develop 218 off-grid wind projects in the coming two years, totalling 6.2GW. Equity researchers at Industrial Securities Corp estimate 20GW of off-grid turbines will come online by 2020.

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