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Yancheng shows which way the wind is blowing

Boasting rich clean resources, strong manufacturing capacity, city in Jiangsu seeks big green role globally

By Cang Wei in Nanjing, Peng Chao and Zheng Yiran in Yancheng, Jiangsu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 09:23
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An employee works at a wind turbine production facility of Goldwind in Yancheng, Jiangsu province. PENG CHAO/CHINA DAILY

Visitors to the Yellow Sea coastal city of Yancheng in Jiangsu province are often amazed by giant wind turbines lined up on the tidal flats that stretch all the way to the horizon.

With an average wind speed of more than 7.6 meters per second at a height of 100 meters, Yancheng enjoys an annual equivalent of 3,000 to 3,600 full-load hours, making it an ideal place for offshore wind farms, local officials said.

According to the local government, the cumulative installed capacity of offshore wind power in Yancheng reached 5.54 million kilowatts by the end of 2023, accounting for 46.2 percent of the province's and 15 percent of the nation's total.

The city is also a major global offshore wind power equipment manufacturing base.

Goldwind Science and Technology Co Ltd, a leading Chinese wind turbine maker, has been expanding its production capacity in Yancheng since setting up operations at the wind power industrial park in the city's Dafeng district in 2009.

Zhai Endi, chief engineer of Goldwind, said Yancheng boasts large-scale advantages, and has rich experience in developing offshore wind power. Goldwind has a whole industry chain in the city.

Zhai said Goldwind's final assembly plant in Dafeng is capable of producing 800 sets of 4.5-megawatt and 6-MW wind turbine units per year, with an annual production capacity of 1.95 million kW.

"Goldwind has expanded its business to 38 countries, with its wind turbine units sold overseas accounting for nearly half of China's total wind turbine exports," Zhai said, adding that 80 percent of its exports were from Yancheng.

Local officials said the presence of Goldwind and its peers in Yancheng has attracted more upstream and downstream companies, forming a more complete industry chain.

Yancheng is home to 41 wind power equipment enterprises with a sales income of at least 20 million yuan ($2.76 million) each. Its offshore wind power equipment manufacturing capacity accounts for over 40 percent of the national total, while its blade manufacturing capacity accounts for about 20 percent, according to the local government.

Bo Wenxi, vice-chairman of China Enterprise Capital Union and chief economist at wealth management firm IPG China, said: "Yancheng possesses core competitiveness in developing the wind power industry. The local government has provided strong support to the industry, including funds, land and other resources. It has also formulated relevant policies, offering a favorable business environment for industrial development.

"Meanwhile, Yancheng owns a solid foundation for industrial development. The city has gathered a group of large-scale wind power equipment enterprises, forming a complete industrial chain, covering research and development design, equipment manufacturing, resource development, operation and maintenance services."

Qu Fang, an investment consultant at Wanlian Securities, said enterprises in Yancheng, and their partners outside the city, have formed a strong and complete industrial chain. At present, four of the nation's top 5 wind power machine enterprises have set up branches in the city. More than 80 component enterprises alongside the industrial chain are also there.

The complete industrial chain ecosystem has jointly created the wind power industry in the city, Qu added.

In the storage yard of Sheyang CRRC Wind Turbine Blade Engineering Co Ltd in the Sheyang Port Zero Carbon Industrial Park, automated guided vehicles are transporting wind turbine blades that have just come off the assembly line.

Hao Xiaojun, deputy general manager of the company, said there are nearly 300 blades in the yard, ranging in length from 110 to 126 meters, and they will be transported to a port that is less than 3 kilometers away.

Hao said onshore wind power resources have been extensively developed, and the future trend is to develop offshore wind power.

"Compared with onshore wind power, offshore wind power equipment can be easily transported from coastal factories to offshore platforms, which is much more efficient than land transportation," he said.

Hao said his company's offshore wind turbine blade intelligent manufacturing project, which started construction in the industrial park in March 2023, will build six production lines with an annual capacity of 300 sets of large-megawatt offshore wind turbine blades.

The company will start production of 131-meter blades this month, and is expected to produce blades of over 140 meters in length next year. It is also developing a 150-meter blade for 20-MW wind turbines, he said.

While expanding the scale of its wind power industry, Yancheng is also accelerating the green transformation of the wind power equipment manufacturing process.

One highlight is Sheyang park, which aims to become the first fully green-powered and zero-carbon demonstration park in the Yangtze River Delta region, said Chen Shuangxi, secretary of the Party working committee of Sheyang Port Economic Development Zone.

"By installing photovoltaic and wind power systems within the park and connecting to offshore wind and photovoltaic power, it is expected that we will achieve full green power coverage for companies in the park," Chen said.

Chen said the park's smart IoT (internet of things) management platform can monitor the energy consumption of enterprises in real time. It can also analyze carbon data, determine carbon footprints, and reduce carbon emissions based on its algorithmic models.

Qiu Lin, chief scientist for Envision Digital's zero-carbon products, said Envision Energy's zero-carbon factory in the park can achieve carbon neutrality through carbon management, carbon emission reduction and carbon offsetting.

"The lifecycle carbon footprint accounting service provided by the park will enhance the competitiveness of our products in the international market," he added.

In terms of future development of Yancheng's wind power industry, Qu from Wanlian said: "With rich wind power resources, advanced R&D and manufacturing capabilities, a complete industrial chain, as well as favorable policies, there is huge room for growth and opportunities to be tapped."

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