Gamesa powers up Chinese wind energy projects

The agreements mean that the companies will co-develop a total of 600 megawatts of wind power in wind farm projects in Jilin province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The new agreements, which will see the manufacturer deliver several batches of its G8X 2MW wind turbines during the next five years, have brought Gamesa’s Chinese projects to 2,726 MW in total.

The new wind farm projects will use wind turbines produced in Gamesa’s factories in Jilin and Inner Mongolia. The company currently has four manufacturing plants in Tianjin, and two more under construction in Jilin and Inner Mongolia. The plants also provide components for Gamesa’s assembly lines in other countries, such as India.

"By working with Chinese partners through wind farm joint ventures, we hope to become a top player in wind power production in China," said Jorge Calvet, Gamesa’s chairman.  The Spanish company has 30 percent of its wind energy market in China and plans to install its first 4.5 mW wind turbine in the country this year.

"For onshore wind turbines, 4.5 MW is the most efficient," said Calvet. He added that 5 to 7 MW is an appropriate range for the offshore wind turbines. The manufacturer is also in the process of developing a 5MW offshore wind turbine that will be unveiled in Spain next year.

"Reliability and quality are going to be the key for offshore wind turbines," said Calvet. "Maintenance is a big problem for those offshore." "Gamesa would not sacrifice quality for the No 1 position in market share," Calvet added.

At the same time, the company is working on lowering the cost of energy per MW. It is aiming for a 15 percent cut within three years and 30 percent in five. According to a recent report by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, a huge amount of the power generated by wind in Jilin and Inner Mongolia is going to waste due to the lack of an efficient grid infrastructure.

"Grid constraint is not a problem unique to China," said Calvet. "The wind energy industry is developing so quickly that the infrastructure cannot keep up." "Spain has seen outstanding performance in wind-energy grid connection thanks to its policy of planning ahead, and that’s where the two countries can cooperate," he added.

China’s Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, who visited Spain in January, said during his visit that China was willing to expand two-way investment and develop cooperation on new-energy technology. In a separate development, China’s largest wind power generator manufacturer, Sinovel Wind Group Co, announced on Feb 14 that the country’s first independently developed 6 MW offshore wind turbine will become operational in June.