Goldwind to build $200m wind farm in US

The wind energy agreement is part of an ambitious expansion strategy by China’s second-largest wind power maker by capacity sold, and indicates that despite political obstacles, Chinese solar power firms can still make inroads in the US market.

Much of the criticism in the US is based on accusations that Chinese solar power companies enjoy an unfair competitive advantage from strong government support.

Goldwind spokesperson Yao Yu said that half of the wind turbines parts and components for the Illinois wind farm would be supplied by US manufacturers.

The Illinois governor’s office said the wind power project will create a dozen permanent jobs and more than 100 temporary construction jobs in the state. "If a Chinese wind farm developer sees an opportunity in Illinois, we’re going to embrace them with open arms," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in an interview on Monday.

"As the largest and most competitive wind power market in the world, the United States is a key component of Goldwind’s international growth," Goldwind Chairman and CEO Wu Gang said. "Goldwind has generated a competitive global footprint and we are focused on continuing that momentum, continuing to demonstrate our technology advantages and continuing to build out our global supply chain."

The Shady Oaks wind farm project, to be located in Lee County, Illinois, about 100 miles west of Chicago, will break ground later this fall, and will generate 109.5 megawatts of power.

The announcement comes as part of a trade visit to China by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. A statement from the governor’s office didn’t specify when the project would go online.

Goldwind, China’s second-largest wind turbines manufacturer after Sinovel, is embarking on an ambitious international growth strategy, aiming to derive 30% of its profit from overseas by 2015. Last month, the company signed a $40.5 million wind turbines contract with Ecuador’s state-owned power generation company, Corporacion Electrica del Ecuador, to build a 16.5-megawatt wind farm there.

In June, China announced it was ending subsidies for domestic wind turbines producers under pressure from the Obama administration. The U.S. had long complained about a lack of transparency for subsidies in China’s wind power sector.