Wind energy chiefs target US windfall

The executives, who will be discussing commercial opportunities as well as learning about the business environment, will have one-to-one talks with business leaders in wind power industry and local government officials, said Bryan D. Larson, first secretary for Commercial Affairs of the US Department of Commerce.

"I believe the trip will help the Chinese companies immensely. They will get to know where their advantages are and how to start their business," he said.

Chinese renewable energy companies need to learn more about the business environment and regulations in the US, said Chinese energy officials.

A number of Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing in the US. However, they lack knowledge and experience of US business culture, said Wang Jun, director general at the New Energy and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Administration (NEA).

"US companies have invested in many renewable energy projects in China, but Chinese companies are still unfamiliar with the US market," Wang told an energy forum on Monday.

Relations involving clean energy between the countries have been far from smooth recently. The US government said in October it would investigate China’s clean energy policies, while China slammed the move as groundless and irresponsible.

Shi Lishan, deputy director at the NEA’s new energy department, said Chinese companies need to establish a business with a US partner that reflects their companies’ capabilities and advantages.

"For a Chinese firm to invest in the US renewable energy sector is like a rural migrant worker finding a job in the city. Some can find one while some cannot. Chinese companies need to learn more about US policies, laws, regulations and industry rules to become strong players," said Shi.

Han Liangjun, president of Sinovel Wind, which has a branch in the US, said it is considering investment in wind farm projects there but looking for a US wind turbines partner is the first step. Han also said the energy capacity the company hopes to establish in the US will be at least 500 MW if they can find a suitable project.

China Guodian Corp (CGC), one of the largest State-owned power generation groups, is working on expanding its business in the US.

Yin Xiao, director of the economic cooperation office at the International Department in CGC, said the company may invest about $400 million to build up a wind power project with 200,000 kW capacity in the US.

It is an opportune time for Chinese companies to invest in the US renewable energy market because their counterparties are short of capital at present, said Yih-Min Jan, chief operation officer and managing director (China) of Tang Energy Group Ltd.