First aid contract after political thaw

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China has won its first major dose of Danish foreign aid for a wind energy project since last year's ease of a political stand-off over human rights issues. In the $15 million contract, German/Danish company Nordex will supply 23 MW of turbines to a wind farm at Tongyu in Jilin Province in the north east, reports Karl-Eugen Feifel of Nordex's Beijing office. It is Nordex's second contract this year through Danida, Denmark's overseas aid organisation. The first was a 30 MW, EUR 24.9 million project in Egypt (Windpower Monthly, February 1999).

Nordex will supply 38, 600 kW N-43 wind turbines, along with blades and controllers. Infrastructure construction will be financed by Jilin Wind Power Co Ltd, a company formed in 1997 by Jilin Provincial Electricity Company to develop up to 200 MW of wind plants at Tongyu. The total investment of the project is expected to be about $24 million, according to Zhang Yuan of the China State Power Corporation. The project is waiting for a final green light from a state planning commission. "There will be no problem," Zhang says.

When permission is granted, Nordex expects to deliver 20 turbines before the end of this year and all but three of the remaining units by spring 2000. Three machines will be assembled by a Nordex joint venture in Xian in north-western China. With this contract, Nordex's sales in China since 1997 have reached 72 wind turbines, accounting for about 28% of the foreign machines in the country in the 500-600 kW size range.

The new contract fulfils only a part of China's ambitious plan to install some 371 MW of wind capacity in 1999. By the end of 1998, China had an estimated total installed wind energy capacity of 224 MW. A State Power Corporation official predicts that China will easily reach 600 MW of wind by 2000 -- significantly shy of the country's original target of 1000 MW.

The Tongyu project is Danida's largest in China so far. Danish wind energy manufacturers are now looking at two pending Danida projects in China's Guangdong Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. "The competition for the contracts is simply fierce," says Feifel.

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