State-owned Chinese power giant China Three Gorges (CTG) ordered the start of work on 25 renewable energy projects that include beginning Asia’s largest offshore wind build in an $8.3bn bid to jump-start a supply chain stalled by coronavirus.
In a high-profile video “mobilisation meeting” from behind facemasks that was sometimes more resonant of a call to battle than a corporate announcement, CTG bosses and government officials said the projects, spanning onshore and offshore wind and solar across 14 provinces, would “promote the coordinated resumption and production of all links in the industrial chain [and] adjust and optimise the local industrial structure”.
Like all China’s industries, its wind and solar supply chains have been struggling to resume operation amid the lockdown that has followed the outbreak of the virus, leading analysts to warn of possible drastic impacts on the nation’s deployment plans if it persists.
Recharge reported last week how businesses and the authorities have been treading a fine line between the need to restore operations and the risks of putting workers together and prompting new outbreaks of the coronavirus.
The 25 projects will need total investments of 58bn yuan and will employ 17,000 people during their construction, said CTG.
They include two offshore wind ‘super projects’of 1.4GW and 800MW. CTG said the first of those, Yangjiang off Guangdong, will see four phases start work simultaneously “creating the largest scale of domestic offshore wind power construction at one time”. The project would also set a new benchmark for offshore wind underway in Asia.
The other offshore wind build off Rudong will be China’s first to feature a 400kV submarine cable, said CTG. The state group is among a clutch of Chinese giants leading a huge offshore wind expansion off China, which is set to pass the UK and Germany to become the world's largest market for wind at sea.
Coronavirus has presented big challenges for onshore and offshore renewables projects already racing to meet deadlines at the end of 2020 and 2021 to secure government subsidies. It is not yet clear whether Beijing will allow any leeway in light of the epidemic.
Research group Wood Mackenzie said a lengthy interruption to production could result in China’s expected wind installations halving in 2020.