The World's Largest Offshore Converter Station Has Set Sail

The 22,000-ton, 15-story steel giant house will provide electricity for 1.36 million households.
Chris Young

The world's largest and Asia's first offshore converter station, the Three Gorges Rudong converter station, is now at sea having made the trip from the Yangtze River in Nantong, Jiangsu, out to the Yellow Sea on the Western Pacific Ocean. The huge station is expected to collect 1,100 MW of electric energy from three wind farms, a report by OffshoreWind explains.

The three wind farms, called H6, H8, and H10, are part of the Jiangsu Rudong project being developed by China Three Gorges (CTG), the company behind the Three Gorges dam — which is so large that it is said to have slowed the Earth's rotation. The station will collect and convert the electricity from those wind farms into DC power before transmitting it onshore from a distance of approximately 62 miles (100 km) using a submerged cable.

According to CTG, the project will eventually be able to provide approximately 1.36 million households with their yearly electricity requirements. The station, nicknamed the "steel giant house," weighs 22,000 tons and is approximately the same height as a 15-story residential building block. 

Towing the "steel giant house"

In order to get its enormous station out to sea, CTG used a floating tow installation method that leveraged natural tides in a similar fashion to the dislodging operation in March for the Ever Given cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal.

Once it is fully installed, the 1.1 GW Rudong offshore wind farm will produce 2.4 billion kWh annually, according to CTG. The construction is part of a concerted effort from China to reduce its carbon footprint. In May, reports emerged that the country's CO2 emissions surpass that of all other developed nations combined.

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Governments worldwide are increasingly looking offshore for renewable power solutions. Last month, Centrale Nantes announced the world's first offshore green hydrogen production plant and Scotland's Orbital Marine Power announced its 620-metric-ton tidal turbine had started sending power to the grid. Today, August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report on climate change, amid the increasing global wildfire crisis, suggesting that initiatives such as China's plans to curb carbon emissions will have to be ramped up if we are to avert the disastrous effects of climate change.

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