FILE PHOTO: Windmills turn in the breeze at Horns Rev 2 near Esbjerg
By Teis Jensen
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - China will tap Denmark, home to some of the world's largest offshore energy companies, to help it build a wind farm, Denmark's energy minister said on Monday.
Speaking after meeting the head of China's National Energy Administration (NEA), minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said that size, timing and suppliers for the wind farm had not yet been decided but he was convinced it would be built.
China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, plans to raise its non-fossil fuel portion of primary energy consumption to 15 percent from 12 percent by 2020.
For its part, Denmark is home to the world's largest offshore wind farm developer DONG Energy, and to wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, which co-owns one of the leading offshore wind turbine makers, MHI Vestas, with Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
China was looking at concrete locations for the wind farm in three different Chinese regions but that it was too early to reveal which regions, Lilleholt told Reuters.
China and Denmark also decided to co-build a test and demonstration center for offshore wind power in China, he added.
NEA head Nur Bekri met Vestas Chief Executive Anders Runevad during his trip to Denmark, Lilleholt said.
Vestas and MHI Vestas did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comments.
DONG Energy also took part in Bekri's program during his trip, but the company told Reuters it was too early to say which role it may play in the planned offshore project.
The push for offshore wind in China has gained pace after it cut the guaranteed subsidied prices paid for onshore wind turbines by the turn of the year, but kept them for offshore turbines.
China has lagged far behind its target to boost the country's offshore wind power capacity due to technical problems and high costs.
"China is facing a giant task on green transition to live up to the Paris climate accord, and it's my clear perception that he (Bekri) is very interested in working with Denmark and Danish companies in this regard," Lilleholt said.
Lilleholt will head a Danish export promotion tour to China next spring where he said he expected the leading Danish green technology companies to join.
(Additional reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Keith Weir)