China's home-developed 16-megawatt offshore wind turbine rolled off the production line in East China's Fujian Province on Wednesday. The turbine boasts the world's largest single-unit capacity and biggest impeller, marking a breakthrough in high-end research and manufacturing to reach world-class levels.
With a propeller diameter of 252 meters, the wind turbine covers a swept area of 50,000 square meters, equivalent to seven standard soccer fields, according to a press release China Three Gorges Corp sent to the Global Times.
A single unit could produce clean electricity of 66 million kilowatt-hours per year, meeting the annual electricity needs of more than 36,000 urban households. Meanwhile, it will greatly save energy and reduce carbon emissions. It's estimated that it'll reduce the consumption of coal by 22,000 tons and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 54,000 tons every year.
The success of the 16- megawatt wind turbine marks a historic leap in the country's wind power equipment manufacturing from following others to neck-to-neck competition and to a world-leading position, and sets a new example for the development of the sector globally, said Lei Mingshan, head of China Three Gorges Corp.
It's worth noting that it only took a little more than a month for China to break its own record, as the company just rolled off a self-developed 13.6- megawatt offshore wind turbine in mid-October.
"The success of the 16-megawatt wind turbine lies not only in its improvement in single-unit capacity but also in effectively promoting offshore wind turbine construction efficiency while lowering cost," said Qin Haiyan, a wind expert with the China Renewable Energy Society. He said it will boost the progress of relevant technologies and comprehensively increase the cost-effectiveness of offshore wind power.
The industry boasts a long chain involving raw materials and key components in the upstream, with complete machines, submarine cables and offshore wind station construction in the midstream, and station and grid operation in the downstream. The development of a country's offshore wind power industry reflects the country's offshore equipment manufacturing capability, technological progress and marine economy, according to experts.
China's offshore wind power industry is growing rapidly. A whole industry chain covering turbines, accessory equipment, offshore construction and operation has been formed, and the country's home-made wind turbines have been exported to countries including Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
The country's installed capacity of wind power exceeded 300 million kilowatts in 2021, ranking first in the world for 12 consecutive years. The figure was 1.4 times that of the EU at the end of 2020 and 2.6 times that of the US, according to data released by the National Energy Administration.
The country has also released a plan for developing a modern energy system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), striving to promote wind power in places with rich wind resources.