Offshore wind farm. Photo: Chris Laurens
Wind and solar power is increasingly becoming a part of China’s future energy supply and the construction of offshore wind is on the rise. China is now constructing one of its 10 first offshore wind farms, consisting of 100 turbines with a capacity of 400 megawatts, which amounts to the total energy consumption of 35,000 households or the production of a small coal-fired power plant. The SPIC Binhai North Phase 2 Offshore Wind Farm in the Jiangsu province, five hours north of Shanghai, will be one of China’s largest.
Ramboll will, as the first non-Chinese company, be designing the wind farm. The contract of more than EUR 4 million includes design of the 100 steel turbine foundations, the 400 MW substation, concept for the transformers, breakers and cables, as well as developing the design basis for waves, currents and geotechnical conditions. The project is a continuation of phase 1, where Ramboll was the head designer of the turbine foundations. This will be the first time a single consultant on an offshore wind farm will design this large part of the total project.
The wind farm will be located 22 km off the coast in an area prone to earthquakes and very soft soil-conditions, where the seabed consists of deposits washed out by the large rivers, which poses a high risk of soil liquefaction. This puts unique demands on the design and construction of the foundations that will be placed 60 m below sea bed, in order to support the turbines in depths of 14-18 m.
“This project is exciting because the soft soil conditions in the Jiangsu province challenges us to design differently from what we are used to in the Northern European market. The technical challenges and the sheer scale of the project requires us to draw on skills from the entire business, and this is where we see the advantages of being a multi-disciplinary consultancy”, Søren Juel Petersen, Global Market Director in Ramboll Energy and Project Director of the SPIC Binhai North, explains.
The Chinese wind power market is the largest worldwide with a global market share of 52%, according to the World Wind Energy Association, and the expectations for the country as the next big offshore market are big.
China is currently planning to install 10 gigawatts of offshore wind energy before the end of 2020, which amounts to 25 wind farms the size of the recent Anholt Wind Farm in Denmark.
“As the most populous country in the world, China has recognised the need to utilise more sustainable energy in order to meet the rise in demand of energy and to increase the air quality. The growing offshore wind industry presents an opportunity for increased exports, not only for Ramboll’s spearhead service – designing foundations for offshore wind turbines – but also for all the other disciplines that we provide when designing wind farms. We hope that this milestone project will pave the way for future projects in China”, Søren Juel Petersen says.
When tendering the project Ramboll’s Chinese colleagues at the Shanghai office have been a great help assisting with cultural understanding and contract negotiations.
The first power of the SPIC Binhai North wind farm is scheduled for 31 December 2016. Compared to similar wind farms in Europe, this project will be done in half the time. Ramboll’s ability to deliver cost-efficient results very quickly during phase 1 of the project was therefore critical in securing the winning bid for the second phase. The project is carried out by experts from across Ramboll in close cooperation with Ramboll Environ in China.
The client is Huadong Engineering Corporation. The developer and owner of the wind farm is State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC). SPIC is a large state-owned enterprise committed to developing sustainable energy and in doing so staying globally competitive. SPIC is present in 36 countries and is through its subsidiary SPIC Jiangsu Offshore Wind Power Ltd. interested in engaging with local partners to establish presence on the European offshore wind market.