HONG KONG, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- China has established military radar on reclaimed land in the South China Sea and has plans to construct electricity-generating wave farms to supply power to its new facilities.
Beijing has drawn the ire of its neighbors by continuing to build military and civilian facilities in the disputed Spratly Islands and is now taking next-step measures to expand its defense capabilities, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
The wave farms essentially are giant floating power stations that could bolster China's self-claimed sovereign presence on the islands, which are also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion said a fully built power-generating unit is about half the size of a soccer field and has been tested near the city of Zhuhai in China's southern Guangdong province. Another unit was deployed for a test run in early November in the South China Sea.
"Military radars are power-hungry beasts that must be fed all the time," said a Chinese researcher who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity.
The power generator is designed to take advantage of the islands' remote location and save costs on fuel, as transporting fossil fuels is expensive and inefficient, according to the researcher. Solar panels are also are not ideal because of seagull and other bird excrement that accumulates on the surface.
The military radar China deploys on the reefs requires thousands of kilowatts of energy, roughly equivalent to the total electricity demand of 1,000 homes in the United States, the researcher said.
The United States and Australia also have used floating wave farms to produce up to 150 kilowatts of energy. The Chinese researcher said the newly developed generator could weather the most extreme climates, including typhoons.
A 10-kilowatt prototype survived Typhoon Haiyan two years ago, according to the scientist.
China's buildup is rattling nerves in the region, and on Monday Beijing issued a statement of warning to Philippines President Benigno Aquino III after Manila stated that the Philippines would continue to demand answers from China through the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
"Manila is ignoring Beijing's firm opposition to the issue and trampling 'Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea' while filing a lawsuit to the International Tribunal of The Hague," Beijing said in a statement published on CCTV.