Sinovel's big plans for 3MW turbine still on track

CHINA: Sinovel has denied that its split with US company AMSC will hamper production of its SL3000 3MW turbine. It has found an alternative supplier for the product, for which it has big plans.

Sinovel has 738MW of orders in the pipeline for the SL3000 turbine and expects it to sell as many as it did of its 1.5MW model, one of the most prevalent in China. However, Sinovel is in an ongoing battle with former supplier AMSC, which was to provide essential components for the turbine.

In 2009, the US company signed a $100 million deal with Sinovel to supply electronic control systems for the SL3000 by the end of this year. The components were part of the shipment that was refused by Sinovel in April. The move precipitated a multi-million dollar legal battle, centering around an accusation of intellectual property (IP) theft regarding an upgrade of Sinovel's 1.5MW turbine fleet.

Speaking to Windpower Monthly, Sinovel vice president Tao Gang said: "According to the agreement with AMSC, AMSC is not the exclusive supplier [of components for the SL3000]. Sinovel has the right to seek other replacements."

Tao would not disclose who would now be supplying electrical components for the SL3000. However, Sinovel sources said production of the SL3000 would soon equal that of the SL1500 machine.

The move comes as AMSC extended the battle lines over its IP-theft case. The company has petitioned the Hainan provincial court to prohibit supplier Dalian Guotong from infringing its copyright. According to reports, Sinovel owns 22.5% of Dalian Guotong.

Similar uncertainty surrounds the SL5000 5MW turbine. Sinovel handed AMSC a deal to supply electronic control systems in March last year. The Chinese company is currently going into production with the turbine, although a fatal accident occurred during tests on the turbine last month, when five people were killed.