Sinovel still hanging on to 1GW Irish deal

IRELAND: Mainstream Renewables has said its 1GW deal to bring Sinovel into the Irish market is technically still in place despite the ongoing court battle between the Chinese manufacturer and AMSC.

The Irish market formed part of Sinovel's plan to expand overseas
The Irish market formed part of Sinovel's plan to expand overseas

Mainstream and Sinovel signed a contract in July 2011, which would have seen Sinovel build 1GW of projects in Ireland over the next five years. As Sinovel became mired in its IP-related legal battle with AMSC, Mainstream put the deal on hold and said it would be looking at alternative suppliers.

Asked whether the Sinovel deal was still in place, Mainstream head of procurement and project delivery Barry Lynch said the company was still awaiting an "agreement" between the two companies. Lynch also added Mainstream was prepared to proceed with the Irish projects without Sinovel.

Lynch added: "We are monitoring the situation and are awaiting a resolution and agreement between the parties and at that point we will re-engage in relation to our Irish projects.

"We have reached financial close on the first project in Ireland and the turbines have been purchased from Enercon and will be tendering for the next Irish project in the coming months with a view to making the turbine selection in August/September."

Sinovel did not respond to Windpower Monthly's request for comment.

The deal between Sinovel and Mainstream was signed two months after Sinovel turned back AMSC's shipment of components and set triggered the current legal battle between the two companies.

Asked whether it was a mistake for Mainstream to sign the Sinovel deal, with the AMSC row brewing in the background, Lynch admitted the company had been taken by surprise.

He said: "We monitor the various supply-chain relationships between turbine manufacturers and their suppliers but in this case I don’t think many people would have expected what subsequently transpired."

In terms of moving ahead without Sinovel, Lynch said: "As with any agreement we always maintain a position where our business plans will continue if one of our partners cannot proceed and this is exactly the case for our projects in Ireland."

At the time the Sinovel-Mainstream contract was announced, Sinovel senior vice president said: "We plan to supply Mainstream with a steady flow of turbines through 2012 and 2013 reaching an average of 250MW per annum from 2014 onwards.

"As we gain certainty on project execution schedules we will review our plans for localising operation and maintenance activities as well as possible component manufacturing."

Sinovel now appears to be looking beyond the Irish deal and is focusing on southern Europe and the Middle East. Recently the Sinovel signed a 600MW deal in Turkey where it is also opening an office. Sinovel vice president Tao Gang said the move will increase its presence in Europe and countries neighbouring Turkey.

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