Continuing its focus on new green infrastructure, Chinese officials have unveiled their latest megaproject, a record-breaking 43.3 gigawatt wind farm in Chaozhou, Guangdong province.
The ambitious undertaking forms part of the government’s five-year plan for the region and is expected to generate enough clean energy to power up to 15 million homes.
Chinese president, Xi Jinping, introduced his vision for the next half-decade at the ruling party’s 20th congress, concluded in late October.
He emphasised continued investment into science and technology, semiconductors, developing a skilled workforce, self-reliance and maintaining the Zero-Covid policy.
China has sought to improve its status as a global tech powerhouse since Xi came to power. In 2021, a reported $386 billion was invested in research and development, accounting for roughly 2.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The ruling party intends to increase that figure by 7% per annum until 2025, according to the scientific journal, Nature.
This means the Asian superpower could match the investments of other Organisation of Economic Cooperation Development members, such as France, the UK and Germany.
Expected to start before 2025, the Chaozhou wind farm will become the largest facility of its type in the world, breaking the record previously held by the Chinese 20 gigawatt Jiuquan Wind Power base in the country’s north-western Gansu province.
Once completed, the farm will measure an estimated 10 kilometres in length and consist of thousands of turbines, operating between 75 and 185 kilometres off China’s coastline.
The unique topography and prevailing winds in Chaozhou are ideal for energy generation. The fleet of wind turbines will encounter desirable conditions between 43% and 49% of the time, enough to power up to 13 million homes a year, according to tech publication, Interesting Engineering.
Speaking at the party congress in October, Xi promised his cabinet would “prudently” work to achieve China’s fundamental environmental goals, namely reaching peak carbon emissions by 2060, in line with the Paris Climate Accords.
As of the end of 2021, China accounts for nearly half of the world’s 830 gigawatt offshore wind capacity. Over the last half-decade, the country has erected turbines at a rapid rate, installing more offshore wind than any other country.
If the planet is to achieve a net-zero emission status, significant work is to be done, warns the Paris-headquartered International Energy Agency (IEA).
The offshore wind industry is still in its infancy, present in only 19 nations, as opposed to onshore wind facilities located in 115 countries.