China prepares three marine hydrokinetic test sites as part of US$163.4 million program

China is planning to construct marine hydrokinetic (MHK) test sites by 2016 off the coasts of three provinces — Shandong, Zhejiang and Guangdong — financed in part by a US$163.4 million fund created in May 2010 for renewable energy. According to a press release from the country’s National Ocean Technology Centre, to date, the fund has supported 96 renewable energy programs.

The three sites will be located at Weihai Port in Shandong; Zhoushan Islands in Zhejiang; and Wanshan Islands in Guangdong. Weihai will be a “shallow-water” test site and Zhoushan and Wanshan test sites will focus on tidal and wave energy respectively, according to Dengwen Xia.

Xia is the Deputy Director General at the National Center for Marine Technology at the Ocean University of China in the city of Qingdao in Shandong province. Ocean University of China is home to the county’s foremost departments of marine and fishery sciences. The institution falls under the oversight of the State Oceanic Administration of the National Ocean Technology Center.

The State Oceanic Administration said China has an estimated 1.58 billion kWh marine energy reserve, with the potential to harness 650 million kWh. Proponents for the test sites think developing commercially viable MHK energy processes would help ease China’s power shortage in the coastal areas.

“In 2014 the Chinese Government released the Strategic Action Plan for Energy Development, which provided details on a set of measures that will enable China to meet its 2020 target to build a clean, efficient, safe and sustainable energy supply system,” Xia said.

“As a promising Renewable Energy (RE), the development of Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) was emphasized to contribute to the optimization of energy structure.”

The three test sites will serve as a testing ground for MHK generators and support marine energy industry development.

Xia report on China’s future MHK goals was included in the comprehensive global report on renewable energy, “2014 Annual Report: Implementing Agreement in Ocean Energy Systems.” The report was published and released by the International Energy Agency in early 2015.

In the report, Xia said the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China began to develop the RE technology development strategy for complete implementation by 2020.

The State Oceanic Administration released the Outline of Marine Renewable Energy Development, in December 2013, focusing on the design and building of two demonstration bases rich in MRE resources areas and national test sites for MRE by 2016.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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