China plans to construct its first offshore wind power complex next year in hopes of easing chronic electricity shortages, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
The complex, to be built in the Bohai Sea off the northern province of Hebei, is designed to have a generating capacity of 1 million kilowatts when completed in 2020, Xinhua said.
An initial phase to begin construction late next year will generate 50,000 kilowatts, it said, citing Gao Xihai, a vice manager of the Huanghua Port Development Zone which is promoting the project.
The plans come as Chinese cities struggle with power shortages that have forced scheduled blackouts and required industries to close or shift production to weekends or other times when demand is weakest.
Officials announced last week that China plans to add 70 million kilowatts annually to the power grid through 2007 for a total of 650 million kilowatts. They said China could by then have an electricity surplus.
China is heavily reliant on coal burning thermal power plants, but reportedly has set a generating target of 20 million kilowatts from renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar power and wind power by 2020.
China's government says wind power potentially could generate 253 million kilowatts, although only a tiny fraction of that has so far been exploited.
Xinhua said the Hebei project would cost a total of $1.1 billion, split between the Huanghua Port Development Zone and the Guohua Energy Investment Co.