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China Wind Farm Development Outlook in 2012

  • Date Submitted: 06/28/2012 01:32 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.9 
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As the world's biggest builder of wind farms, China is set for its first year of slower growth in almost a decade as plans founder for expanding offshore, hurting domestic sand maker turbine makers such as Sinovel Wind Group Co.

At the same time, the government has failed to start sea- based plants on schedule as officials disagree over sites. That jeopardizes China's goal to rival Europe by 2020 as the largest installer offshore, a faster-growing global market dominated by European turbine makers such as Siemens AG (SIE) and targeted by China's Sinovel and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co.

'I see these goals as very unrealistic,' said Caitlin Pollock, a San Francisco-based analyst at IHS Emerging Energy Research. China's setback in ocean-based wind farms may restrict sales for Sinovel, Goldwind and Chinese competitors 'striving to enter as many new markets as possible.'

Sinovel and Goldwind, the nation's biggest wind-turbine makers, are chasing ocean-based projects as a way to gain credibility to eventually compete with the main European suppliers in a global offshore market that IHS Emerging Energy Research says is set to grow nine-fold through 2025 to almost $52 billion a year.

Siemens, Vestas

More than 90 percent of wind farms being built off European shores are using turbines from suppliers such as Siemens, Areva SA of France and Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems A/S, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

'Developers may not buy Chinese offshore turbines because they have little track record of operation and maintenance,' said Demi Zhu, a Beijing-based analyst at BNEF. 'It's currently impossible to find offshore wind turbines that provide high reliability and low maintenance costs in China.'

Disputes among competing government authorities over site locations have blocked progress on China's goal to build 30 gigawatts of offshore capacity by 2020. On land, the government has tightened approvals for new projects after the nation lost 10...


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