China to investigate collapse of homegrown turbines

CHINA: China's National Energy Bureau (NEB) has launched an investigation into the quality of Chinese wind products after a recent series of turbine collapses.

A wind farm in Jiuquan province, where a Sinovel turbine collapsed
So far this year, poor installation procedure and inadequate components are believed to be the cause behind a number of turbine collapses in China's northeast and northwest.

According to Economic Information Daily, the affected turbines were manufactured by Sinovel, Dongfang Electric, Guodian United Power and Zhejiang Yunda.

Commenting on the investigation, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the new and renewable energy department at the NEB said: "It is inevitable for some individual turbines to meet some quality problems when China's wind industry develops so fast. Similar incidents have taken place in foreign countries as well.

"The key point here is to face the problem and solve it."

An industry insider said that earlier this year two Sinovel turbines collapsed at the Linghe wind project, in Liaoning province.

This was followed in mid-August by a second incident involving Sinovel when one of its turbines collapsed at a project in Jiuquan, Gansu province.

Qin Haiyan, secretary general of the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) said China's surplus production capacity was partly to blame for the problems.

Qin said competition for orders had led to manufacturers consistently undercutting each other on price, and subsequently quality.

He added: "At present, no one is willing to speak publicly about the problems of wind turbines. This is unfavorable to solving the problem. Actually, foreign turbines met similar problems when they entered the Chinese market. By investigating the quality of wind turbines, NEB is facing the problem."

Qin's view was echoed by Longyuan general manager Xie Changjun. He said: "China cannot sustain fast growth of the wind power industry if we do not have domestically made wind turbines that are advanced and credible in terms of technology, performance and quality."

Chinese officials estimate the country will overtake the US in terms of installed capacity by the end of the year. However, a number of industry figures have recently voiced concerns about the low prices being paid in government tenders.