Powering the PLA Abroad: How the Chinese Military Might Fuel Its Overseas Presence

Publication: China Brief Volume: 22 Issue: 9

PLA Soldiers observe a water tank heated by solar energy (Source: People’s Daily Online)


The establishment of China’s first official overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017 set the precedent for People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units to be permanently stationed abroad. Many foreign analysts assume that China will continue expanding its overseas military presence, most likely through a mix of adding new bases and leveraging dual-use ports. The 2021 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) report on the Chinese military lists “Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan” as locations where Beijing is “pursuing additional military facilities to support naval, air, ground, cyber, and space power projection” (DoD, November 3, 2021). China faces many challenges in establishing and sustaining a more global military presence, but one overlooked yet fundamental consideration is the energy resources necessary to fuel its international military presence and operations. This article explores PLA research concerning potential challenges of overseas energy supplies and one perhaps surprising solution: renewable energy.

It’s Hard to Find Friends with Power to Spare

The PLA will require multiple types of power generation and storage to support operations abroad including electricity for base operations, and fuel for ships, vehicles, and perhaps aircraft. How much electricity will be needed appears unaddressed, although at least some parts of the PLA do research fuel requirements for specific operations. [1] While renewable energy ostensibly has a tenuous link with overseas bases, some in the PLA view it as a reasonable (if not wholly sufficient) response to China’s well-known predicament. In a world where the U.S. has been the dominant global power for 70 years, most of the advantageous locations for overseas military bases have already been taken, such as in developed countries like Germany and Japan. There is also an irony that Beijing’s desire to secure its overseas energy imports is one of the main drivers of the PLA’s push abroad, yet China may find it difficult to actually power these new bases (PRC State Council Information Office (SCIO), July 24, 2019).

Most potential host nations of PLA bases lack abundant power capabilities that China could tap into. This challenge is repeatedly highlighted by Zheng Chongwei (郑崇伟), a PLA researcher who is on a one-man quest to convince others in the PLA that renewable energy could be useful for military bases abroad along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Explaining the challenges of power generation at far flung locales, Zheng wrote in 2018, “On the whole, the total electricity consumption in the areas along the ‘Belt and Road’ is only 61 percent of the world average. The penetration rate of rural electricity in Bangladesh is only 40 percent, and the penetration rate of urban and rural electricity in Sri Lanka is 80 percent and 40 percent, respectively.” [2]

Another added complication is how to protect these power generation and storage facilities, since at least some PLA researchers believe these foreign bases may actually be used operationally in wartime (and thus attacked by adversaries).

There are many ways that China could address insufficient energy infrastructure in potential future overseas base locations. The simplest solution would be to access the host nation’s existing oil pipelines and power grid. However, if that is insufficient, as is the case in several potential future base locations, then China will have to either improve local oil supply and power production overall, or import fuel and produce its own power inside the base. Although electrical power generation is one key component of the BRI, there is no evidence this is directly intended to facilitate Chinese military access. Most BRI energy projects are in the oil/gas and coal sectors, but renewable and nuclear energy projects are also included (China Brief, April 29; Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2021).

PLA Research on Renewable Energy for Overseas Locations

To tackle this problem of how the PLA can supply energy to far-flung, energy-insecure locations, Zheng Chongwei has conducted a highly specialized research effort since at least 2011, with an apparent focus on supporting Chinese military expansion abroad. He began researching the South China Sea in 2011, notably before island building began, shifted to researching the BRI by 2015, and in 2016, was already researching the military aspects of renewable energy prospects of Gwadar, Pakistan as a “key node” (关键节点, guanjian jiedian) of the BRI. [3]

Zheng is affiliated with an array of technical research institutions, both military and civilian, and has received a similar mix of government funding for his research. He was educated at the PLA National University of Defense Technology’s (NUDT) College of Meteorology and Oceanography (previously under the PLA University of Science and Technology), but also lists affiliations with the Lushun Naval Support Base for the Northern Theater Command Navy (Unit 92538) and the Dalian Naval Academy’s Navigation Department. Beyond the PLA, Zheng lists affiliations with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Atmospheric Physics’ State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, East China Normal University’s State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, and the Ocean University of China’s Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Ocean Engineering. His research has been funded by grants from the Chinese National Science Foundation, the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 program), the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Key Research and Development Program, CAS’s Knowledge Innovation Project, and provincial governments.

Much of Zheng’s recent research centers on “strategic strongpoints” (战略支点, zhanlue zhidian), which are defined as being able to “provide support for overseas military operations or act as a forward base for deploying military forces overseas” (The Science of Military Strategy, December 2013). According to U.S. analysts, “China’s strategic strongpoint model integrates China’s various commercial and strategic interests, facilitating Chinese trade and investment with the host country while also helping the PLA establish a network of supply, logistics, and intelligence hubs across the Indian Ocean and beyond” (China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), 2020). Zheng does not make clear if his vision for strategic strongpoints is dedicated military bases or dual-use ports, but he has referenced “key nodes” as including “ocean bases” (海洋基地, haiyang jidi). [4] While Zheng is not the most authoritative source on the purpose of “strategic strongpoints,” he is perhaps the most prolific and explicit about their true purpose for the PLA.

Figure 1. Zheng’s View of Strategic Strongpoints Along the Maritime Silk Road
[Source: Zheng Chongwei et al., 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: A Peaceful Way Forward (Singapore: Springer Oceanography, 2018), 2.]

However, Zheng is not the only PLA researcher exploring how to power China’s future overseas bases. Chen Rongjiang (陈荣江), a researcher at the PLA National Defense University (NDU), assessed the military applications of very small modular (nuclear) reactors (vSMRs) in 2020. [5] Pointing to the U.S. military’s research on the topic, he argued that the PLA is increasingly likely to be called upon for overseas military operations but its ability to execute will be challenged by host countries’ “power infrastructure conditions.” One solution, in Chen’s view, is to utilize vSMR “to realize the autonomy, safety and efficiency of energy support for overseas military operations.” 

Clear Military Applications for Renewable Energy

Zheng proposes the PLA use renewable energy for its military presence abroad to “achieve self-sufficiency in electricity.” Zheng explains this solution in the context of the South China Sea, stating “the strategic strongpoint is usually based on remote islands far away from the mainland, where electricity and fresh water are extremely scarce, and traditional diesel power generation can easily damage the fragile ecology of islands and reefs.” [6] Zheng’s writings on the role of renewable energy in the PLA’s expansion abroad mostly focus on solar, wind, and wave energy.

Zheng frames his research as for civilian purposes related to BRI, but in reality, he is focused on charting the PLA’s overseas presence. Putting aside any ancillary civilian applications, his work on renewable energy serves the PLA’s planned overseas expansion for two major reasons. First, Zheng has been one of the clearest PLA writers on the importance of “strategic strongpoints” and the geographic focus of his research overlaps well with his declared map of strongpoints. Suggesting this is more than just a coincidence, Zheng’s research on the applications of renewable energy for overseas strategic strongpoints clearly follows the same analytic model he used to analyze the South China Sea ahead of the development of PLA bases there, and in retrospect, was likely to have been in support of PLA planning. [7]

Second, Zheng’s usually neutral language occasionally reveals clear military applications for renewable energy. Zheng often frames renewable energy in the context of “improving the quality of life for local residents,” and titled his first book 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: A Peaceful Way Forward. However, he has hinted at another value: concealment from enemy forces, a trick learned from the U.S. In a 2016 article, he explains “wave energy [波浪能, bolang neng] has good concealment for military applications: the wave energy device is on the surface of the sea and is not easily surveilled by the enemy, and the concealment is better than wind energy [风能, feng neng] and solar energy [太阳能, taiyang neng] devices; AUV and UUVs can be charged, enhancing their endurance and concealment capabilities. [Moreover,] the wave energy device is also hard to destroy: scattering them widely across key sea areas can effectively avoid being completely destroyed by the enemy during the war and ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity.” He later added that charging submersibles via wave energy “enhances their endurance and covert penetration.” Zheng has also noted the value of strategic strongpoints for intelligence collection abroad. [8]

Even Zheng’s broader work on the hydrological environment is ultimately intended for military use, unsurprising given his employer. For example, his research assesses the impact of waves on the accuracy of ship-launched missiles, submarine concealment, mining, carrier air operations, and amphibious landings. As he explained in one article, “When the waves are large, it will affect the ship’s landing, the transfer of the landing force, and the landing force’s grabbing the Wei. […] The landing of Normandy on the whole was a success on the whole, but the heavy wind and waves caused the loss of a large number of ships, tanks, and personnel.” [9] However, discussions of renewable energy’s military applications for strategic strongpoints are not found in his English language publications. Clearly, even otherwise apparently benign studies by PLA researchers can, unsurprisingly, be intended for military use.

Two Key Locations

Zheng’s geographic focus on renewable energy is intriguing, although it certainly does not guarantee future Chinese overseas basing. Overall, Zheng states repeatedly that he is most interested in the South China Sea and Northern Indian Ocean regions, following the heart of BRI’s maritime component, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Chinese military has indeed embraced renewable energy for some overseas bases, though it is difficult to definitively credit this to Zheng. At least one of China’s reclaimed features in the South China Sea, Johnson Reef, has had solar panels since at least 2017 (CSIS, February 24, 2017; JHU APL, 2020). A People’s Armed Police garrison in Tajikistan, which hosts Chinese forces for counter-terrorism missions focused on Afghanistan, is outfitted with solar panels (The Print, February 22, 2019). This suggests that PLA research into renewable energy for military basing abroad, such as Zheng’s, may have some value in understanding where future facilities could be established.

Pakistan is the biggest focus of Zheng’s research, with 24 articles from 2011 to 2020 mentioning the country or Gwadar port, including two specifically on wind energy in Gwadar. [10] In one 2015 article, Zheng explains that “Gwadar Port is a key node on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” and hopes that his research will “effectively improve the survivability [生存能力, shengcun nengli] and sustainable development capabilities of remote islands, deep seas, and important ports.” Zheng’s analysis provides detailed technical data for estimated wind energy production by month (see Figure 2), based on European meteorological data. China already has some renewable energy projects in Pakistan under BRI’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but nothing near Gwadar, which announced in November 2019 that a German company was building a solar power plant in the city (The News, November 1, 2019). Although Pakistan appears promising, Zheng concluded in 2020 that the most promising Indian Ocean locations for wind energy are Somalia and Sri Lanka.

It is quite easy to guess why Zheng is interested in Gwadar, a longtime contender for a future PLA base, which also has limited energy availability (DoD, 2018). Per a 2020 CMSI report: “Power shortages are the norm in Pakistan, especially in Gwadar, where severe outages—as long as 20 hours per day—are not unusual. Since 1999, all of Gwadar’s electricity has been imported from Iran. There is great demand for stable power that must be met before any more ambitious development can be carried out” (CMSI, 2020). In response, “Power generation is thus among the key Chinese projects around Gwadar,” in line with Pakistani priorities and power generation projects’ central role in CPEC. So far, there is no evidence this power generation is directly intended to support a PLA presence, but it would be convenient.

Figure 2: Estimated Wind Energy Production Per Month in Gwadar [Source: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin [李崇银], “Analysis of Wind Energy Resource in the Pakistan′s Gwadar Port” [巴基斯坦瓜达尔港的风能资源评估], Journal of Xiamen University (Natural Science) [厦门大学学报(自然科学版)] 55:2, 2015, 210-215.]

To the south, Zheng has focused on Sri Lanka, with 21 articles from 2011 to 2020 mentioning the country, including two articles on its wave energy prospects. In one 2018 article, “21st Century Silk Road: Wave Energy Evaluation and Decision and Proposal of the Sri Lankan Waters” Zheng explains that “Sri Lanka is located near the center of the main channel of the Indian Ocean and is one of the key nodes of the Maritime Silk Road.” He argued his research would “provide scientific and technological support to assist decision-making to move out into the deep blue sea [迈向深蓝, mai xiang shen lan],”a phrased occasionally used by the PLA Navy to denote its global ambitions, and would be “beneficial to enhancing the survivability of the strategic strongpoints” by making them self-sufficient for freshwater and electricity. In another article, Zheng specifically observes that for wave energy, the best locations are along Sri Lanka’s southeast coast for the natural winds coming off the Indian Ocean, followed by the south and southwest, with the northern parts the worst (see figure 3). [11]

Figure 3: Wave Energy Patterns Around Sri Lanka
[Source: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “Overview of site selection difficulties for marine new energy power plant and suggestions: wave energy case study” [关于海洋新能源选址的难点及对策建议: 以波浪能为例], Journal of Harbin Engineering University [哈尔滨工程大学学报] 39:2, 2018, 200-206].


Zheng’s research presents some intriguing potential implications for China’s military presence abroad and considerations for foreign open-source research about the Chinese military.

First, Zheng’s research offers an alternative vision for China’s future overseas presence, though it is unclear whether the PLA specifically or China broadly will actually pursue large-scale renewable energy at overseas bases. There is already much Western discussion that China does not have to follow the U.S. model for overseas presence, and generally presumes less reliance on larger overseas bases (U.S. NDU, October 1, 2014). However, Zheng’s research suggests the PLA could potentially also pursue a different vision for energy generation, reducing reliance on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. Perhaps this could even entail a future PLA deployment of electric autonomous unmanned vehicles, which raises the question: what would this mean for a future conflict if they were quieter than China’s current submarines? (FAS, November 21, 2009).

Second, while I argue Zheng’s research provides some insights into the PLA’s interest in future basing locations, the development and specific locations of future overseas bases is still very much up for debate. First and foremost, basing decisions will ultimately be made by the host nation at the request of China’s leadership, which will be informed by the PLA. Second, as an individual expert, Zheng is admittedly not an authoritative source on PLA thinking by traditional analytic standards. However, he may represent at least one stream of PLA thinking and reflect some amount of internal planning, as his earlier writings on South China Sea islands suggest he may be involved in, or at least have access to, internal PLA planning. The most relevant part of Zheng’s research is his emphasis on specific locations—Pakistan and Sri Lanka—that likely reflect prevailing assumptions within parts of the PLA about potential locations. Finally, Zheng’s explicit linkage of the BRI, strategic strongpoints, PLA presence abroad, and a warfighting value further clarifies at least one forward-leaning view within the PLA. In the end, Zheng’s analysis appears geared toward identifying locations along the BRI with strategic value, since it includes some ports where the PLA can’t expect access such as Diego Garcia and India, meaning it is likely for others in the PLA to decide what to do with this information.

Third, Zheng is a useful case study for considering the future of open-source PLA research. From a methodological point of view, if a PLA researcher screams into the void, does it matter? Zheng is basically the only PLA researcher working on renewable energy for the PLA presence abroad. [12] However, with so little authoritative information available with details about Chinese intentions and planning for the PLA presence abroad, researchers should take greater advantage of this type of voluminous but otherwise obscure, technical, and too-often overlooked publicly available writings by the Chinese military.

Looking forward, Zheng appears to believe his research will become more in demand as he looks to scale his research with big data, including publishing a dataset for the Maritime Silk Road. Foreign analysts should keep a keen eye on these locations as potential sites for future PLA presence in some form, including renewable energy investments. [13]

Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga is an Associate Policy Researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of RAND, its sponsors, or the U.S. government. He thanks Kristen Gunness and Cristina Garafola for their feedback on earlier drafts.

Editor’s Note: This piece exceeds the standard length of a normal China Brief article, but has been included in this issue due to timeliness and reader interest.

[1] Based on a review of PLA research on overseas basing. For an example of PLA Air Force (PLAAF) modeling efforts to estimate, and then optimize, bomber strike package fuel consumption, see: Cui Lijie [崔利杰] et al., “Route Optimization of AAR in Long Range Operational System Based on MPGA” [基于多种群遗传算法的远程作战体系加油路途优化], Fire Command and Command Control [火力与指挥控制], June 2017, 88-92.

[2] Figures on electricity usage in BRI countries are from Zheng Chongwei [郑崇伟], “Energy Predicament and Countermeasures on Key Junctions of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” [21 世纪海上丝绸之路: 关键节点的 能源困境及应对], Pacific Journal [太平洋学报] 26:7, July 2018, 71-78. For Chinese researchers’ concern over threats to overseas bases, see Wu Biao [吴飚] et al., “Research on safety and protection of overseas support bases Chinese” [海外保障基地安全与防护问题研究], Protective Engineering [防护工程] 40:1, 2018, 1-6.

[3] Zheng Chongwei, “Wave Energy and Other Renewable Energy Resources in South China Sea: Advantages and Disadvantages” [南海波浪能资源与其他清洁能源的优缺点比较研究], Journal of Subtropical Resources and Environment [亚热带资源与环境学报] 6:3, 2011, 76-81. For focused work on South China Sea construction, see: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin [李崇银], “Development of the Islands and Reefs in the South China Sea: Wind Climate and Wave Climate Analysis” [中国南海岛礁建设:重点岛礁的风候、波候特征分析], Periodical of Ocean University of China [中国海洋大学学报(自然科学版)] 45:9, 2015, 1-6; Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “Development of the Islands and Reefs in the South China Sea: Wind Power and Wave Power Generation” [中国南海岛礁建设:风力发电、海浪发电], Periodical of Ocean University of China [中国海洋大学学报(自然科学版)] 45:9, 2015, 7-14; Zheng Chongwei et al., “Wind climate analysis under the demand of reef runway construction” [岛礁跑道设计中的风候特征分析], Marine Forecasts [海洋预报] 34:4, 2017, 52-57.For early global view, see: Zheng Chongwei, Analysis of Wind Energy Resources in Global Sea Areas [全球海域风能资源储量分析], Sino-Global Energy [中外能源] 16:7, 2011, 37-41; Zheng Chongwei and Pan Jing [潘静], “Wind Energy Resources Assessment in Global Ocean” [全球海域风能资源评估及等级区划], Journal of Natural Resources [自然资源学报] 27:3, 2012, 364-371.

For work on Maritime Silk Road, see, among others,: Zheng Chongwei et al., “A series of studies on marine environmental characteristics of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” [经略21世纪海上丝路之海洋环境特征系列研究], Ocean Development and Management [海洋开发与管理] 32:7, 2015, 4-9; Zheng Chongwei et al., “Strategy of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: On the Important Routes, Crucial Nodes and Characteristics of Ports” [经略21世纪海上丝路:重要航线、节点及港口特征], Ocean Development and Management [海洋开发与管理] 33:1, January 2016, 4-13.

[4] Zheng, “Energy Predicament,” 2018, 71-78.

[5] Chen Rongjiang [陈荣江], “Application History and Enlightenment of Very Small Modular Reactor for Land Battlefield Energy Supply” [微型模块化反应堆陆战场能源保障应用历程及启示], Strategic Study of CAE [中国工程科学] 22:1, 2020, 146-152.

[6] Zheng Chongwei, “21st Century Silk Road: Wave Energy Evaluation and Decision and Proposal of the Sri Lankan Waters” [21世纪海上丝绸之路!斯里兰卡海域的波浪能评估及决策建议], Journal of Harbin Engineering University [哈尔滨工程大学学报] 39:4, April 2018, 614-621; Zheng, “Energy Predicament,” 2018, 71-78; Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “Evaluation of new marine energy for the Maritime Silk Road from the perspective of maritime power” [“海洋强国视野下的“海上丝绸之路”海洋新能源评估”], Journal of Harbin Engineering University [哈尔滨工程大学学报] 41:2, February 2020, 175-183.

This is not to say that all of his research has clear military applications. See: Zheng Chongwei, Li Chongyin, and Xu Jianjun, “Micro-scale classification of offshore wind energy resource: A case study of the New Zealand,” Journal of Cleaner Production, July 2019, 226.

[7] For example, see: Zheng Chongwei et al., “Wind climate analysis under the demand of reef runway construction” [岛礁跑道设计中的风候特征分析], Marine Forecast [海洋预报] 34:4, 2017, 52-57; Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin [李崇银], “Development of the Islands and Reefs in the South China Sea: Wind Power and Wave Power Generation” [中国南海岛礁建设:风力发电、海浪发电], Periodical of Ocean University of China [中国海洋大学学报(自然科学版)] 45:9, 2015, 7-14.

[8] For a reference to benefiting locals, see: See: Zheng, “Energy Predicament,” 2018; Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “Overview of site selection difficulties for marine new energy power plant and suggestions: wave energy case study” [关于海洋新能源选址的难点及对策建议: 以波浪能为例], Journal of Harbin Engineering University  39:2, 2018, 200-206. For one of Zheng’s English language books, see: Zheng Chongwei, Xiao Ziniu, Zhou Wen, Chen Xiaobin, and Xuan Chen, 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: A Peaceful Way Forward, Germany: Springer Oceanography, 2018.

For lesson learned from the United States, see: Zheng Chongwei, “Prospects of Wave Energy and Wind Energy Resources” [波浪能, 海上风能资源开发前景展望], Journal of Subtropical Resources and Environment [亚热带资源与环境学报] 8:4, 2013, 40-46.

For research on advantages of wave over solar or wind energy for concealment, see: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin [李崇银], “Review on the global ocean wave energy resource” [全球海域波浪能资源评估的研究进展], Marine Forecasts [海洋预报] 33:3, 2016, 76-88. For research on submersibles and wave energy, see: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “Overview of site selection difficulties for marine new energy power plant and suggestions: wave energy case study” [关于海洋新能源选址的难点及对策建议: 以波浪能为例], Journal of Harbin Engineering University [哈尔滨工程大学学报] 39:2, 2018, 200-206; Zheng, “Energy Predicament,” 2018. For a broader explanation of the military value of the maritime hydrographic environment co-authored by Zheng, see: Zhang Jiangquan [张江泉] et al., “Analysis on the characteristics of marine hydrological elements such as wind, waves and currents in the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea” [黄渤海风、浪、流等海洋水文要素特征分析], Technology Information [科技资讯], 2013.

For research on the value of strategic strong points see Zheng Chongwei et al., “The Strategy of Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century: Construction of Strategic Strong Points,” Proceedings from the 8th Maritime Power Strategy Forum [第八届海洋强国战略论坛文集], October 21, 2016. The author thanks Conor Kennedy for this point.

[9] For quote, see: Zheng Chongwei, “Comprehensive application and intensive construction of ocean waves,” [海浪综合应用与集约化建设], Ocean Development and Management [海洋开发与管理] 31:9, 2014, 44-53. For broader discussion, see: Zhang et al., “Analysis on the characteristics,” 2013. For more, see: Zheng and Li, “Evaluation of new marine energy,” 2020, 175-183. His 2018 book also references “Helicopters, carrier-based aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles.” See: Zheng Chongwei et al., 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: A Peaceful Way Forward, Germany: Springer Oceanography, 2018, 121. For English publications on the Indian Ocean, see: Yang Shaobo et al., “10-Year Wind and Wave Energy Assessment in the North Indian Ocean,” Energies 2019 (12); Zheng Chongwei et al., “Diffusion Characteristics of Swells in the North Indian Ocean,” Journal of Ocean University of China 19:3, 2020, 479-488. For more, see: https://webofknowledge.com/author/record/791457,34981993?lang=en_US.

[10] Information on Zheng’s research on Pakistan derived from the following sources: Author’s count of CNKI data. See: Zheng and Li, “Analysis of Wind Energy Resource,” 2015, 210-215; Zheng Chongwei, Gao Yue [高悦], and Chen Xuan [陈璇], “Climatic Long Term Trend and Prediction of the Wind Energy Resource in the Gwadar Port” [巴基斯坦瓜达尔港风能资源的历史变化趋势及预测], Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis [北京大学学报(自然科学版)] 53:4, 2017, 617-626; Zheng and Li, “Analysis of Wind Energy Resource,” 2015, 210-215. For similar analysis, see his 2018 NUDT PHD dissertation: Zheng Chongwei, “Analysis of Wave Energy and Offshore Wind Energy Resources” [海上可再生能(波浪能、风能)资源利用的理论研究], PhD Dissertation for PLA National University of Defense Technology, 2018.

[11] Information on Zheng’s research on Sri Lanka derived from the following sources: Zheng and Li, “Evaluation of new marine energy,” 2020, 175-183; Zheng and Li, “Overview of site selection,” 2018; (and 2018 quote from) Zheng, “21st Century Silk Road: Wave Energy Evaluation and Decision and Proposal of the Sri Lankan Waters” [21世纪海上丝绸之路!斯里兰卡海域的波浪能评估及决策建议], Journal of Harbin Engineering University 39:4, April 2018, 614-621.

[12] For writings by PLA scholars other than Zheng on overseas basing and renewable energy, see – Chen Rongjiang, “Application History of Very Small Modular Reactor for Land Battlefield Energy Supply,” 2020; Liu Donghua [刘东华], “Characteristics and thinking of marine environmental protection in the new era,” [新时代海洋环境保障特点与思考], China Scitechnology Business [科技中国] June 2020, 18-21.

[13] For Zheng’s big data research see: Zheng Chongwei and Li Chongyin, “21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Big Data Construction of New Marine Resources: Wave Energy as a Case Study” [21世纪海上丝绸之路 :海洋新能源大数据建设研究], Ocean Development and Management [海洋开发与管理] 34:12, 2017, 61-65; Zheng Chongwei, “Temporal-spatial characteristics dataset of offshore wind energy resource for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” [21世纪海上丝绸之路”风能资源时空特征数据集], China Scientific Data [中国科学数据] 5:4, December 2020, 106-119.