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Chinese turbine imports delayed

A landmark deal expected to bring 900 MW of Chinese-made wind turbines to US shores by 2012 has fallen behind schedule. The pact between China's Mingyang Wind Power Technology and GreenHunter of Grapevine, Texas, called for two 1.5 MW turbines to reach Montana early this year with 70 more to follow by year's end (Windpower Monthly, January 2008).

GreenHunter's wind development subsidiary, Wind Hunter, had announced plans to plant 20 of the machines at its Valley County Wind Project in north-eastern Montana this year. But none of the Chinese turbines developed in conjunction with German company Aerodyn have reached the US so far, says GreenHunter's Stephen Wiley. "They started their production of these turbines for projects in China earlier this year," he says. "But they are somewhat behind schedule." Mingyang Wind Power is one of four subsidiaries of privately owned Mingyang Electric Group.

Construction at the Montana site could possibly still begin later this year but the project is more likely to be pushed into 2009, Wiley says. "It's not so much that their turbines won't be ready this year," he says. "The issue with Montana is that there is such a short window for building because of the weather conditions. If we don't have everything ready by September, we'll probably have to wait until the next season and that doesn't really begin until April because of the snowmelt."

The Montana site also still lacks adequate transmission, according to Wiley. "We're not finished with the development activities," he says. "Principally, that's the transmission line itself. We're going through an expedited process but even that will take several months." GreenHunter maintains land leases on four Montana sites with a combined potential capacity of nearly 550 MW. The company also has a land lease in New Mexico for a 300 MW site and another in California for 225 MW. The company grew out of Magnum Hunter Resources, a Texas oil and gas company formed in the mid-1980s.

Mingyang's variable speed, pitch controlled machine is the first Chinese-developed, megawatt-scale wind turbine being offered for commercial overseas deployment. The company, which plans to make all its own components except towers, is not restricted by the terms of its license agreement with Aerodyn from selling turbines into the US market. Last year Mingyang announced plans to ramp up overall annual turbine production to 1000 units by 2010.

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