Domestic firms take market lead -- Sinovel chases Goldwind

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Release of preliminary official statistics on China's wind market for 2007 indicate that the unofficial statistics have been only slightly optimistic and that China retains its position as the world's third most active national wind market after the United States and Spain. Officially, 3304 MW of new wind power capacity was installed last year to bring the country's cumulative total to 5906 MW, up 127.2% on 2006's end year total of 2600 MW. New installations were up 147.1% on the previous year when 1328 MW was installed, while domestic firms, for the first time, supplied more turbines than their foreign rivals -- together two Chinese firms alone accounted for over 45% of the market.

According to the figures, reported by China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group, Chinese turbine suppliers took 55.9% of the market, with Goldwind again the overall market leader, although its share has dropped from 33.37% in 2006 to 25.1% in 2007. Goldwind installed around 830 MW last year compared with 442 MW in 2006. Sinovel, which did not even rank in the top ten list of Chinese suppliers last year, is now Goldwind's main domestic rival. It installed 680 MW in 2007. Sinovel makes a 1.5 MW turbine designed by Austrian company Windtec, now owned by American Super Conductor Corporation.

Of the foreign manufacturers, Spain's Gamesa reclaimed its lead. It was China's third biggest supplier last year with just under 17% of the market, slightly up on the previous year. It installed 560 MW compared with 212.5 MW in 2006. Denmark's Vestas took fourth spot in the general rankings, with 11.16%, significantly down on its 23.44% share in 2006. It installed just under 370 MW compared with 311.55 MW in 2006.

China now has 6469 wind turbines operating at 158 wind farms spread across 22 provincial areas. Inner Mongolia remains by far China's hottest spot for development with over 1000 MW of new capacity added in 2007 to take its cumulative total to just over 1563 MW. The next most popular region is Jilin where 360 MW went up last year to take its total to 612 MW by end 2007. Meanwhile, six provinces or municipalities joined the wind club last year -- Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei and Hunan. This year 5000-6000 MW of new wind capacity is likely to be installed in China, says Shi Pengfei of the Chinese Wind Energy Association (Windpower Monthly, March 2008). This will take its cumulative capacity to 11,000-12,000 MW by end 2008.

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