Ramboll supports Chinese engineers with offshore wind farm

09 June 2016 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

China is seeking to lower its reliance on fossil fuels by stimulating rapid expansion of its renewable generation stock. As part of its strategy, the country will deploy an additional 10 GW of offshore wind farm generation by 2020. The first of the series of 10 400 megawatts wind farms, the SPIC Binhai North Phase 2 Offshore Wind Farm, is being designed by Danish professional services firm Ramboll, in a contract worth €4 million. 

In line with the country’s commitment to climate change, China is rapidly expanding its renewable energy base. Last year the country outshined Germany in terms of installed photovoltaic solar capacity, standing at around 43 gigawatts (GW) compared to Germany at around 40 GW. China's National Energy Administration (NEA) is keen to further expand its sustainable capacity by 15 GW of solar capacity in 2016. The country is also moving forward with wind farms – the wind power market in the country is the world’s largest, with a global market share of 52%, according to the World Wind Energy Association.

The country is seeking to expand wind capacity by an additional 10 GW by 2020, which amounts to 25 wind farms the size of the recently constructed Anholt Wind Farm in Denmark, which supplies around 4% of the country’s total demand. As part of its efforts to add wind energy generation capacity, China plans to install 10 offshore wind farms, consisting of 100 turbines with a capacity of 400 megawatts. The first of the ten wind farms will be overseen by the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), a state owned enterprise who is the developer and owner of the wind farm. The so-called ‘SPIC Binhai North Phase 2 Offshore Wind Farm’ in the Jiangsu province near Shanghi will be one of the largest in the country, supplying enough energy for 350,000 households. 

Ramboll supports Chinese engineers with offshore wind farm

The design of the new wind farm has gone to Danish engineering, consulting and design firm Ramboll on behest of the firm’s client, Huadong Engineering Corporation. The consulting firm previously won a competitive tender for the first phase of the design process, in which the foundations for the turbines were developed. The tender win for the second phase will see the firm create the overarching design for the whole project. The contract, valued at €4 million, is the first wind farm design to go to a non-Chinese company.

The design includes 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 location involves considerable difficulties, due to frequent earthquakes and very soft soil-conditions that risk liquefaction. Accordingly, the design will see the installation of foundations 60 meters below the sea bed, in order to support the turbines, in depths of 14-18 meters. The turnaround for the project is relatively fast, with the SPIC Binhai North wind farm expected to be online by 31 December 2016.

“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,” says Søren Juel Petersen, Global Market Director in Ramboll Energy and Project Director of the SPIC Binhai North. He goes on to explain: “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.”