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Hebei to build large offshore wind farm

BEIJING - China will construct an offshore wind farm with an installed capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) in Leting County, North China's Hebei province, making it the country's largest such project.

The feasibility report for the wind farm located near Puti Island in Bohai Sea has recently passed expert reviews that were commissioned by the National Energy Bureau (NEB).

Under the program, the wind farm, built with a total investment of 5.76 billion yuan ($914 million), will comprise 100 units of 3MW offshore turbines. The approval authority will complete relevant procedures to sanction the project at the end of this year, and the project will be connected to the grid before the end of 2015.

When it goes into operation, the wind farm will generate 752 million kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electric power annually, as well as 730 million yuan in annual sales revenues. It was also pay 58 million yuan in taxes to the local government.

Leting County has 124.9 kilometers of coastline, or a quarter of Hebei's total coastline. The county boasts rich exploitable wind power resources, totaling 3.7 gigawatts (GW).

The county government established an offshore wind power development plan in early 2011. The NEB gave its approval for the county to prepare for the 300MW offshore wind power project in June 2011.

China has rich wind power resources. According to the China Meteorological Administration, China has up to 750GW in exploitable wind resources in seas, or three times that of on-shore wind resources.

But offshore wind farms remain a tiny portion of China's total installed wind power capacity.

In June 2010, the Shanghai East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm, with an installed capacity of 102MW, went into operation, making it the country's first offshore wind farm to operate commercially.

Meanwhile, construction on Longyuan Power's intertidal wind farm is going smoothly in Rudong County, east China's Jiangsu Province. This farm is currently China's largest, with installed capacity of 150MW, and the entire project is expected to be completed in March.

In 2010, China awarded four contracts, through public tender, to power companies to construct 1GW offshore and inter-tidal concession projects. They are scheduled to be completed in four years.

Industry officials say China might issue a second request for tenders for offshore concession projects, totaling 2GW, in the first half of this year.

According to the NEB, China will construct 5GW of offshore wind projects by 2015, or five percent of its total installed wind capacity. They will create market opportunities worth 80 billion yuan.

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