Wind Power Gaining Momentum in China

With rapid economic growth and booming industrial sectors, China continues to witness increasing demand for electricity consumption over the past few years. Along with increasing demand for power consumption, the country’s power sector has seen significant developments, with major focus on the renewable energy sources (RES).

Although there has been considerable growth in electricity generation from RES such as hydroelectricity and solar power, wind power industry has emerged as the fastest growing segment of the industry – growing at a CAGR of around 43% during 2010-2012, says our latest research “China Wind Sector Analysis”.

We have done extensive research and analysis to identify the present and future share of China in global wind energy market in terms of cumulative installed capacity. The report also explores the five major wind energy provinces which together constitute over 70% of the cumulative wind power installed capacity. It also gives cumulative wind power installed capacity during 2008 while forecasting the figure for 2012 in the provinces and reveals factors that will lead to future growth in these regions.

Apart from this, in-depth research has been done to further identify the future of wind equipment market in the country, which is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 20% during our forecast period. The research by RNCOS also finds out the present and future share of local manufacturers in the country’s cumulative wind power installed capacity. The key reasons for the increasing share of local companies have also been discussed in detail.

“China Wind Sector Analysis” provides a deep, comprehensive and rational analysis of the wind energy market in China. It gives an insight into the trends persuading the market at present. Besides this, the factors fuelling the growth of the Chinese wind energy market have also been discussed. Moreover, for making clients familiar with the competitive landscape in the country, we have also included business profiles of key industry players operating in China’s wind energy market.

China Datang builds 50 MW wind power plant in Shandong

It is reported that Chinese state-owned power producer the China Datang Corporation recently kicked off the construction of its fourth wind power plant in eastern China Shandong province with capacity of 49.5 MW.

Sited at Qingdao city, the Zhuomashan wind power plant involves CNY 500 million of investment and includes 33 sets of wind power generating units each with a capacity of 1,500 kW. The Zhuaomashan wind power plant is expected to generate 89.54 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

Currently, China Datang operates two wind power plants in Laizhou and Dongying with a combined capacity of 148.5 MW and has another one under construction in Wendeng with 49.5 MW of capacity in the first phase.

China Datang also plans to start the construction of its fifth wind power plant in Shandong at Jiaonan of Qingdao and is making efforts to acquire a 30 MW wind power plant in Yantai. Moreover, China Datang is conducting the preliminary work on the building of wind power plants in Jimo and Pingdi in Qingdao as well as the offshore area of Yantai.

Currently, China Datang carries out the development of wind power projects through Datang Shandong Power Generation in this area.

Renewables to supply one-third China’s energy by 2050

China’s drive for renewable energy to mitigate the health and environmental costs of coal has brought its own challenges.

China’s renewable energy strategy through 2050 envisions renewable energy making up one-third of its energy consumption by then, the China Daily said, as the upcoming Copenhagen conference on climate change highlights the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Coal-dependent China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, last month said it would cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each yuan of national income by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

Depending on economic growth projections, total emissions will still rise.

By 2020, renewable energy should account for 15 percent of national primary energy consumption, supplying the equivalent of 600 million tonnes of coal, the China Daily said this weekend.

It cited a renewable energy blueprint laid out by Han Wenke, director-general of the Energy Research Institute under top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission.

By 2030, renewable energy’s share should rise to 20 percent of the national energy mix, displacing 1 billion tonnes of coal, Han said, and by 2050, it would supply one-third of China’s energy, displacing two billion tonnes of coal, the paper said.

China’s drive for renewable energy to mitigate the health and environmental costs of coal has brought its own challenges.

Wind power generating capacity has surged so fast that policy planners now warn of severe overcapacity in the sector, and dam after dam piled on Chinese rivers distorts water flow, endangers fish and poses a potential earthquake hazard.

China’s installed wind power capacity is now 12.17 million kilowatts, up from 350,000 kw in 2000, and large-scale solar energy facilities are planned, the paper said.

China’s Goldwind Science & Technology Ltd. is one of the world’s biggest makers of wind turbines – a cornerstone of the booming clean power business – but is virtually unknown outside its home country.

Goldwind aims to change that. In a Minnesota farmer’s cornfield, the company is erecting three 20-story-tall windmills in its first American project and hopes it will help to woo other buyers.

‘There are a lot of leads and we are following them up,’ said Kerry Zhou, Goldwind’s director of development. ‘We certainly expect that by 2011 we can get good results.’

China’s market for wind equipment is on track to overtake the US this year as the world’s largest, spurred by a government campaign to promote renewable energy to clean up its battered environment and curb surging demand for foreign oil and gas.

Now the biggest Chinese manufacturers want to expand to the United States, Europe and other markets. Western suppliers could face new competition as low-priced Chinese rivals seek to profit from global efforts to limit climate change.

Chinese manufacturers could get a boost if officials at this week’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, agree on new measures to spread use of clean energy.

Beijing is promoting the industry as part of sweeping efforts to transform China into a creator of profitable technologies. Utilities have been told to step up clean energy spending even as the global economic crisis cuts into investment elsewhere.

‘China is a major player and will dominate the future development of wind,’ said Lars Andersen, president for China of Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines.

Chinese wind companies’ technology lags behind global leaders such as Vestas and General Electric Co. But their prices are up to 50 per cent lower, which industry analysts say should make them competitive abroad.

‘The performance-to-price ratio is quite attractive,’ said Victoria Li, who follows the industry for Credit Suisse in Shanghai. ‘I think they could see strong growth from export revenue within two years.’

Last year, China accounted for 22 per cent of new global wind capacity, while the United States accounted for 29.6 per cent, according to BTM Consult, a Danish research firm. This year, Credit Suisse says China will install up to one-third of new capacity.

The industry has gotten a boost from a flow of money through the Clean Development Mechanism, a UN program that allows industrialized economies to meet commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing countries to cut their own instead. China is the biggest recipient of CDM money.

Chinese demand is so huge that with almost no foreign sales, Goldwind and rivals Sinovel Wind Co. and Dongfang Electric Co. already rank among top global manufacturers.

Sinovel, Goldwind and Dongfang together made one of every eight wind turbines sold worldwide in 2008, according to BTM. Vestas led global sales with 19.8 per cent and GE was second with 18.6 per cent.

Beijing-based Sinovel made its first foreign sale last year, shipping 10 1.5-megawatt turbines to India, said a company spokeswoman, Liu Chang. Also in 2008, Goldwind sold six of its smaller 750-kilowatt units to Cuba.

In Minnesota, Goldwind is installing three 1.5-megawatt turbines on a farm in the town of Pipestone. Zhou said the company hopes the site will prove its turbines operate reliably under US weather conditions.

Beijing’s tactics in promoting its suppliers have caused strains in trade ties at a time when other governments are scrambling to preserve jobs.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China complains that foreign producers have been shut out of bidding for major wind projects. Beijing also required that 70 per cent of parts in turbines used in China be domestically made – a rule that was dropped in September only after major foreign producers had set up Chinese factories.

November’s announcement that a Chinese manufacturer, A-Power Energy Generation Systems, would build a Texas wind farm prompted an outcry from American critics that stimulus money the project might receive should not go to China. A-Power and its American partners said they would open a US factory.

‘We definitely are closely watching the controversy and obstacles for this current project to see what will happen,’ said Goldwind’s Zhou.

Aggressive government goals issued in 2005 call for at least 15 per cent of China’s power to come from wind, solar and hydropower by 2020. Officials say that target might be boosted to 20 per cent.

In July, Beijing raised its wind power goal to 150 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2020 – the equivalent of 300 standard coal-fired power plants – up from the 2005 plan’s target of 30 gigawatts.

But the industry faces technical hurdles to its growth.

Wind farm construction has raced ahead so fast that 25 percent have yet to be connected to the national power grid. Like the United States, China faces the problem that its windiest areas in the desert northwest and northern grasslands are far from populous cities, requiring expensive transmission lines.

Other companies are developing technology ranging from solar panels and fuel cells to more far-out systems that make power from garbage and used cooking oil.

China’s solar cell producers have competed abroad in Spain, Germany and California since they got into the business early this decade because the technology was too expensive for Chinese buyers.

The biggest, Suntech Power Holdings Ltd., is on track to pass Germany’s Q-Cells SE as the world’s top supplier as early as this year.

‘In an incredibly short space of time China has taken the lead in the race to develop and commercialize a range of low-carbon technologies,’ said the Climate Group, a London-based environmental organization, in a report in August.

Many manufacturers still rely on technology licensed from GE and other foreign producers but Goldwind, Sinovel and others are developing their own. Zhou said Goldwind has spent 500 million yuan ($S104 million) since 2007 on research and owns the technology used in its turbines in Minnesosta.

Goldwind, founded in 2001, says more than 1,200 of its 1.5-megawatt units have been installed at 40 wind farms across China. Last year, it bought a German company, Vensys, with a factory that can produce 100 turbines a year.

Zhou stressed that Goldwind plans to make or buy most components wherever its turbines are installed, rather than shipping bulky towers and blades up to 90 meters long from China. That could help avert political strains by creating local jobs.

‘We don’t want to aggressively enter a market with simple thinking that we can just export our equipment there,’ Zhou said.

Siemens’s key to China’s wind power market

A joint venture with a local wind turbine company could spell success for Siemens’s green products in China. Siemens has announced that it wants to form a wind turbine joint venture (JV) with an as-yet unknown local wind turbine company. Siemens says the JV will expand sales of its green-focused products.

The JV is more than an additional sales channel, however; it may help to grant Siemens entry into the Chinese wind power market. Some of Siemens’s international competitors, including Denmark’s Vesta Wind Systems, Spain’s Gamesa, GE Energy and India’s Suzlon Energy, were banned from competing to supply China’s state-owned independent power producers with wind turbines, in what many observers saw as protectionist move.

A JV may help Siemens to sidestep barriers to market access, but there are dangers. Eventually one of two things will occur: Beijing will revise the law and allow foreign wind turbine companies equal access to the industry, or the domestic company will end the JV when it feels it has enough knowledge to develop advanced