China’s first deep-sea offshore floating wind turbine is ready to go live.
The gigantic wind-powered platform was developed by the state-owned energy firm, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and is expected to produce 22 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year.
The 11 thousand-ton turbine, called Haiyou Guanlan or CNOOC Guanlan, was installed 137 kilometres off the coast of Wenchang, Hainan Province, and will power the company’s nearby offshore gas and oil fields.
The massive turbine blades are mounted atop a triangular tower, with a central support pole fixed to the turbine’s base.
At a total length of 650 metres, Haiyou Guanlan is roughly twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower and requires a four-ton ballast system to keep it secured safely to its foundation, approximately 100 metres below sea level, according to the news website, Maritime Executive.
Earlier this May, CNOOC representatives announced its engineering crew had successfully installed the nearly five-kilometre undersea cable linking Haiyou Guanlan to the Wenchang oil complex.
Maritime Executive reports the undersea cable – in fact three separate 35-kilovolt cables and three 12-core fibre optic cables – is graded to withstand depths up to 130 metres and specially designed to withstand some of the world’s most demanding conditions.
According to turbines’s designers, the 7.25 megawatt platform has an expected operational period of 25 years.
In that window, the environmentally friendly facility will generate enough electricity to satisfy the annual energy demands of an estimated 30 000 citizens, while simultaneously preventing the release of 22 000 tons of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere every year, according to tech publication, Electrek.
Offshore wind farms were recently in the news after several articles linked the renewable energy source to the deaths of whales in the US in 2023.
However, the US Department of Energy said there exists no evidence that supports the notion that the several disturbing cases of whale mortalities off New Jersey’s coast were caused by offshore wind farming and are instead the result of some other anomaly.
With the addition of Haiyou Guanlan to the grid, China’s total offshore wind capacity, consisting of 20 production sites, stands at an impressive 30 million kilowatts – enough to instantaneously power 22 500 homes simultaneously, according to the California Independent System Operator.