Offshore wind zoning in China: Method and experience
Over the past decade, the increasing demand for renewable energy has driven the rapid development of China's offshore wind industry. However, it is not clear to developers and management departments which types of sea areas can be used for offshore wind projects. According to the provincial marine functional zoning (MFZ), China's coastal provinces have put offshore wind zoning (OWZ) into practice. This paper clarifies the method of OWZ, collects the results from offshore wind zones (OWZs) of 10 coastal provinces, and assesses the characteristics of OWZs by area, functional attribute and distance from the coastline. The results show that most of the areas available for offshore wind are co-existence zones where offshore wind can be sited in an agricultural and fisheries zone, an industrial and urban construction zone, a special-use zone, etc. Currently, 47% of existing offshore wind projects have been located in the OWZs in the East China Sea. Moreover, parts of the coastline distance of OWZs do not meet the “double-ten principle” in China or global siting trends. Generally, the existing areas for OWZ would allow China to meet its national target by 2020, but measures still need to be taken to meet the demands of conservation and sea-use management.