Wind power Vestas opens $50m Beijing R&D center

The wind energy technology R&D center will cover areas such as high-voltage engineering, aerodynamics, and material and software development. Vestas plans to invest $50 million over five years, said a company statement. It will have more than 200 engineers and technology specialists by 2012, said the company.

As part of the company’s global innovation network, the center will fully maximize the talent and experience Vestas has in China, said Finn Strom Madsen, president of Vestas Technology R&D.

The establishment of the center is a natural step in the Danish company’s development in the country, said Jens Tommerup, president of Vestas China.

"Vestas regards China as one of the most important wind farm markets and wants to follow its development closely and actively interact with industry stakeholders," said Tommerup.

The opening of the Vestas center, which is also the first wind energy R&D center set up by a foreign company in China, is in line with the rapid development of China’s wind power industry, said analysts. The country’s wind energy sector has seen more than 100 percent annual growth in the past five years.

Foreign companies still own more advanced technologies in the wind sector. Their increased R&D spending in China benefits the domestic market, said Shi Dinghuan, director of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society.

"We welcome more international cooperation in the sector," he said. Although foreign companies have many opportunities in China, they will face fiercer competition in the future, said analysts. One major reason is that domestic wind power companies have made big progress in recent years.

Domestic wind turbines companies already have around an 80 percent market share in China. Compared to their foreign counterparts, they offer huge price advantages.

The fast-changing market requires companies to make continuous adjustments, said analysts. Vestas is planning to counter competition from China by expanding into areas of lower wind speed with more efficient wind turbines blades.