Power giant China Power International Holding (CPIH) and Norwegian developer Equinor have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on offshore wind projects off China and Europe.

The MoU, which was signed in Beijing by CPIH president Tian Jun and Equinor executive vice president Pål Eitrheim, includes the option of “expanding the collaboration” between the two companies in a market expected to be the biggest in the world by 2030, with some analysts forecasting over 30GW installed by this date.

“CPIH has been striving to develop its international strategy to become a pioneer of reliable energy provision worldwide. The signing of the MoU between CPIH and Equinor is a big step forward for both companies to move into new markets in renewables and develop a long-term strategic partnership,” said Tian.

“We look forward to deepen this partnership and develop a sustainable energy business together with our partner in both domestic and overseas markets.”

Eitrheim stated: “China is rapidly increasing its use of renewables and natural gas. As an offshore wind major, Equinor is excited to collaborate with CPIH to develop offshore wind.”

CPIH is subsidiary of Chinese state-owned enterprise State Power Investment Corporation.

Last month, China’s held its debut offshore wind procurement round under new ‘price competitive’ terms, returning a lowest bid that would take the sector below $100/MWh for the first time in the country.

China is on the cusp of an offshore wind installation dash to grid-connect 40GW of turbines by the end of 2021 – a challenge that industry experts said will prove impossible because of supply chain constraints.

Analyst group Wood Mackenzie forecasts offshore wind power capacity off Asia as a whole growing to 45GW by 2030, up from just over 2GW in 2017, led by China with 31GW.

“In order to realise their offshore ambitions, we are seeing offshore wind developers aggressively push to position themselves in new markets through greenfield projects, pipeline acquisitions and alliances,” said Wood Mackenzie senior research analyst Soeren Lassen.

“Equinor is only the second European developer to break into the Chinese offshore wind market [after France's EDF earlier this year]. Both of players have leveraged existing relationships with state-owned Chinese companies to enter the market, proving that relationships are key to enter the Chinese market.”

Equinor has operated in China since 1982 via the Lufeng oil development – a partnership with China National Offshore Oil Corporation in the South China Sea – which was the company’s first international project in 1997, and in production until 2009.

·Update adds quotes from Wood Mackenzie analyst Soeren Lassen