Special Report - Opportunity and Risk in China - Chinese turbine exports

A growing number of Chinese turbine manufacturers are eyeing the export market. Overseas orders have been placed or tentatively agreed over the past year for machines produced by Mingyang, Goldwind, Sewind, and Hewind. Others, such as Sinovel and A-Power, have said they will pursue export opportunities next year.

One of the most high profile orders, for 900 MW of turbines, was placed with Mingyang by US newcomer to the wind development business, GreenHunter of Grapevine, Texas. But the schedule for delivery of the first 1.5 MW units, designed in partnership with Germany's Aerodyn, is slipping significantly (Windpower Monthly, June 2008).

It seems more likely that Goldwind will be the star player internationally following its acquisition of 70% of German wind turbine designer Vensys. The company is to start manufacturing turbines in Germany soon. Hewind was an early exporter. In 2007 it delivered three of its 780 kW units to South America. The client in Chile was Ecoingenieros. Competitor Sewind is eyeing markets in eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and South Africa, it says. The company is a subsidiary of Shanghai Electric.

"We have just supplied to the UK and Thailand," says the company's Feng Li. "These are our first exports." Both involve delivery of 1.25 MW machines, two to the UK and three to Thailand. "There has been lots of interest from companies from south-east European countries, like Bulgaria," she adds.

Sewind's production capacity this year is for 200, 1.25 MW units, with that set to rise to 400-500 next year. The company expects to offer a 2 MW unit, jointly designed with German consultancy Aerodyn, by the end of 2009, hoping to produce 40 initially, and a 3.6 MW model for offshore development a year later.