Brussels is considering launching an investigation into China’s use of subsidies to promote its wind turbine manufacturers. This move comes in response to concerns that cheap Chinese imports are posing a threat to European wind power companies. Didier Reynders, the acting competition commissioner, stated that if there is evidence of excessive aid on the Chinese side, an investigation similar to the one conducted on electric vehicles could be opened.
The potential investigation into Chinese wind turbine parts would be the second significant action against China in as many months. In September, commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced that Brussels would look into unfair practices in the electric vehicle market, which received a strong backlash from Beijing. Despite concerns about potential retaliation, EU officials argue that there are sufficient elements warranting an investigation into wind turbine parts.
The discussions about the investigation coincide with a planned visit to China by Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, and Kadri Simson, the bloc’s energy commissioner. The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, previously called for an investigation into wind turbines made in China, citing aggressive strategies used by Chinese manufacturers to enter European markets.
Brussels has already imposed tariffs on Chinese companies’ glass fiber fabrics used in wind turbine blades. There are growing concerns within the industry about the EU’s dependence on Chinese green technologies. WindEurope, a trade body for the European industry, expressed worries that Europe’s clean technology would be manufactured outside of the continent, leading to a dependency on Chinese clean energy equipment.
Brussels is also developing broader proposals to boost the wind industry, which include providing guidance to member states on offering direct financial support to the sector and improving auction designs for wind farms. These proposals are actively discussed between the commission and the industry.