China’s biggest wind developer will build what is claimed to be the world's first aquaculture farm to be integrated with a floating wind power project, in another sign of growing Chinese momentum behind floating platforms – now officially part of the nation’s long-term energy plans.

Longyuan Power and the Xiuyu District government in Fujian province sealed a framework agreement to cooperate on an offshore wind demonstrator near Nanri island, which will co-deploy floating turbines and deep-sea fish farming equipment.

Longyuan is a subsidiary of China Energy Investment Corp (CEIC), the world’s largest power producer and the biggest wind power developer in terms of installed capacity.

CEIC wants to develop a technology solution capable of combining wind generation and fish farming at scale in deep waters in the coming five years, the group said. Longyuan has finished an initial design of the project, and construction is scheduled to complete by the end of next year.

The Nanri project was granted approval as early as 2015. The high construction cost of installing rock-socketed piles due to the challenging seabed conditions off Fujian’s shore has prompted the firm to look into floating solutions.

Longyuan’s Nanri demonstrator is China’s latest bid to combine offshore wind and fish farming, with co-deployments between fixed-bottom turbines and aquaculture planned elsewhere in the nation.

Before Longyuan’s move, CTG announced in 2019 plans for the country’s first offshore wind project integrated with fish farming at Laizhou bay in seafood-centric province Shandong.

Two other utilities, China General Nuclear (CGN) and China Datang, are pushing a similar agenda.

The former is leading a research project that hopes to eventually demonstrate floating turbines integrated with aquaculture in waters off Yangjiang city.

The latter brought forward a 500MW fixed-bottomed project off Ledong city, in the south China sea off Hainan province.

Wind developers still face many challenges to establish technical systems to manage the two elements, Longyuan’s Zhou said in his speech last year.

Key research to be carried out at the demonstrators includes choosing the right seafood breeds, the impacts of turbine noise on fish farms, as well as the impact of subsea fish cages on the performance of the turbines themselves, he said.