Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Offshore wind: An opportunity for cost-competitive decarbonization of China’s energy economy

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Science Advances  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 8, eaax9571
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax9571

Abstract

China has reduced growth in its emissions of greenhouse gases, partly attributable to major investments in onshore wind. By comparison, investments in offshore wind have been minor, limited until recently largely by perceptions of cost. Assimilated meteorological data are used here to assess future offshore wind potential for China. Analysis on a provincial basis indicates that the aggregate potential wind resource is 5.4 times larger than the current coastal demand for power. Recent experiences with markets in both Europe and the United States suggest that potential offshore resources in China could be exploited to cost-competitively provide 1148.3 TWh of energy in a high-cost scenario, 6383.4 TWh in a low-cost option, equivalent to between 36 and 200% of the total coastal energy demand after 2020. The analysis underscores notable benefits for offshore wind for China, with prospects for major reductions in greenhouse emissions with ancillary benefits for air quality.

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