In China, you are almost guaranteed to never be far from a megaproject and during a trip to the coast of Nantong in April we came across one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world.
The Rudong offshore wind farm is located off the coast of Jiangsu Province in the Yellow Sea. It has 150 wind turbines and can generate enough electricity for 1 million households annually.
At 12 billion yuan, it is the largest offshore wind farm in China by capacity. It is expected to reduce 1.46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year by displacing the need for 550,000 tonnes of coal for electricity annually.
The government aims to increase the share of wind and solar from 11% currently to 16.5% by 2025 to reduce coal use. China has committed to peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060 to address climate change.
Specialised barges and homemade technologies were used in its construction, including a ship equipped with a crane that’s able to lift the equivalent of four A380 jumbo jets combined. One of its heavy-lifting duties is to elevate turbine blades that stretch more than 83 meters in length. The blade is made of carbon fibre, which helps to reduce the weight by about 2 tonnes compared to traditional blades made of glass fibre.
The photos don’t do justice to just how enormous the wind farm is with turbines visible for as far as the eye can see. It was genuinely exciting to see this technology deployed at scale like this.
Perhaps of equal interest was the fleet of fishing vessels that were docked in the harbour nearby. They had been furloughed during the fish breeding season to prevent the depletion of the aquatic population.
The texture of the weatherbeaten ropes, nets and other paraphernalia laid out on the docks for miles on end was rather photogenic.