China’s flagship floating wind turbine is in-tow for installation at developer China Three Gorges’ Yangxi West Shapa phase 3, a 400MW project being built around monopile-based machines off Yangjiang, in south-east Guangdong province.

The typhoon-proof unit, a MingYang MySE5.5MW machine mated to a semisubmersible platform from Wison Offshore & Marine, will be trialled for the next six months at the site in 30 metres of water, making it an ideal candidate to test the role of floating wind turbines – generally thought-of as a technology for depths of 50 metres and greater – for 'shallow water' projects.

China’s plans to rapidly expand its offshore wind fleet in the next decade could be sped up “considerably” by installing floating units in shallower sea-depths, the head of Ming Yang’s European division, Wei Chen, speaking at a Recharge digital roundtable, said recently.

“This pilot will make an important contribution to future development of floating wind [farms] in shallow water,” said Chen, who is based in MingYang’s European headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

The OEM in a post on LinkedIn said: “As China's first floating wind turbine, this turbine truly exemplifies our commitment to innovation and advancements in offshore wind technology.”

China currently has a market-leading 4.4GW of offshore wind under construction, according to data from advocacy body the World Forum for Offshore Wind, as well as over 7GW in operation and as recently as 2019 was targeting having over 40GW installed by 2022.

Close to half of a vast 255GW fleet of floating wind turbines forecast for installation around the world by mid-century will be moored in Asia Pacific, according to recent calculations by DNV for Recharge.