China makes Japanese turbine

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Mitsubishi's 1 MW wind turbine is to be produced in China under a non-exclusive agreement for technology transfer with local firm Wuzhong Instrument Company (WUYI). It is the first time Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) has granted a production license to anyone for its wind technology. For the time being, the nacelles will continue to be made in Japan to maintain quality, says Yoshinori Ueda, engineering manager of Mitsubishi's wind turbine division, but all assembly will be in China.

The share of locally produced components will gradually increase, he adds, noting China's requirement for 70% of wind plant to be made in the country. "We're looking at [local] manufacturers gradually gaining the ability to produce units as they accumulate experience," he says. MHI will help with training and procurement of local components.

Export of MHI 1 MW turbines from China is being considered, says Ueda, but the main purpose of the deal with WUYI is for Mitsubishi to gain a foothold in China. It is planning further aggressive marketing activities in China, possibly with WUYI. It could also open its own factory. MHI is "considering production in China as a possibility" for the future, says Ueda. There are no plans to halt production of the 1 MW unit in Japan and active consideration of a factory in the United States continues.

Industrial valve manufacturer WUYI is owned by Ningxia Electric Power Group (NXEPG), a mid-sized electricity company that already owns 162 MW of installed wind capacity and a wind turbine production plant. The 1 MW unit, says MHI, is more suitable than larger turbines for the hilly terrain of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, where WUYI and NXEPG are based and where NXEPG plans further wind development. The WUYI assembled turbines will also be supplied to other project developers in China.

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