China Three Gorges (CTG) will build a pioneering combined offshore wind and fish farming development in China’s Bohai Bay, according to tender documents.
The 300MW Phase 1 Laizhou Bay wind farm will be the first offshore wind project in Shandong province, and the first in the country to set out to demonstrate the benefits of combining offshore wind and aquaculture technology.
Construction of 91 turbines is expected to begin this year and complete by 2021, CTG revealed as it named Shandong Electric Power Engineering Consulting Institute (SDEPCI) as the project’s offshore engineering designer.
The 5bn yuan ($700,000) project is among an array of pilot demonstrators planned by Shandong government aiming to unite offshore wind and aqua farming. The northern province – a major seafood producer – has ambitions to build 13GW of offshore wind eventually but has yet to put up any, partially due to fears of damage to its valuable seafood industry.
The province earlier this year first unveiled plans to deploy aquaculture demonstrators in the Yellow Sea and Bo Sea waters, hoping to pave the way for its offshore ambitions, as Recharge previously reported.
CTG plans to turn the turbines’ fixed-bottom foundations into “micro islands” and build six artificial reefs surrounding them to breed oysters, sea cucumbers and several types of fish.
China is in “urgent need” of wind-and-aquaculture hybrid demonstrators to “test the impacts of wind energy on ocean farming”, oceanology researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science, Yang Hongsheng, said in a recent article calling for the development of such projects.
Lack of power supply is a key bottleneck for China’s aquaculture development in the sea, he pointed out, whereas wind developers face the challenge of high building and maintenance costs for offshore turbines. An integrated business model between the two may provide a win-win solution for both industries.