Evolution of price policy for offshore wind energy in China: Trilemma of capacity, price and subsidy

Youzhou Wei, Qing-Ping Zou, Xianghong Lin

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Abstract

China promotes the development of the offshore wind industry to reduce CO2 emissions, tackle air pollution, commit to the Paris Climate Agreement and develop a strategic emerging industry. The installed capacity of offshore wind power in China reached 4445 MW in 2018 which was ranked third in the world. Big developers dominated the offshore wind energy market with domestic turbines. Many projects are under construction. The offshore wind industry in China has experienced four stages of price policy: demonstration, concession, feed-in tariff and market-oriented competition policy. Nevertheless, it is impossible to expand the installed capacity, lower the on-grid price (cost) and reduce the subsidy for the offshore wind power industry at the same time. This is the trilemma (impossible trinity) that needs to be addressed by the price policy. In the past decade, China has implemented an evolving price policy, i.e., a system and mechanism that encourage firms to invest in the offshore wind industry to expand the capacity of the industry by setting price and providing subsidy and other benefits. An overall evaluation based on the indicators of installed capacity, price, subsidy, spatial distribution, technology and industrial linkage shows that the price policy has been effective in balancing capacity, price and subsidy up to now. However, lowering the price and reducing the subsidy will be the major challenges that China has to overcome in the coming years in order to sustain its current growth trend. To boost the development of its offshore wind industry further, China needs to implement a market-oriented competition price policy and mechanism, learn from the experience of price policy evolution in European countries and open the market to foreign investors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110366
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume136
Early online date9 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2020

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