US-China Wind 2011 - Chinese manufacturers wary of US market

UNITED STATES: Chinese wind companies 'have a more realistic view of the US wind market compared with a year ago'.

A Goldwind 1.5MW turbine at the Pipestone, Minnesota project

This is according to Andrew Chen, president of USFOR Energy, which works with Chinese wind-equipment manufacturers or investors and US project developers. He spoke on the sidelines of this week’s US-China Wind 2011 conference in San Francisco.

Chen said: "They now realise that [entering the US market] is a longer-term prospect." He cited three factors that have spooked Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

They are: the US-Sino renewable-energy trade disputes; the US’s uncertain energy policy coupled with next year’s elections; and the wariness of the US financiers towards China’s wind technology.

"They can’t find an equity investor willing to work with them," he said. This view of the US market meant there were fewer major Chinese turbine manufacturers represented.

Last year’s event drew officials from several of China’s major OEMs, including Sinovel, Goldwind, Guodian and Sany. This year, only Goldwind and Mingyang were represented.

However, developers Longyuan and Hanergy -- one of China’s largest privately owned energy companies – were there as were components suppliers Sinoma Blade and XJ Electric.

Chen said that in the short term, China’s developers may find it easier to enter North America than do OEMs.

In July Longyuan, China’s largest wind developer, bought some 70% of a wind project in Ontario, which has a feed-in tariff.

According to Chen another major Chinese player has been negotiating for a 100MW project in Canada, he said. Of the Chinese OEMs, only Goldwind has  a significant presence in the US.