Beating rival bids from some of the nation's biggest energy developers including Shandong Electric Power Corporation, Datang Group, Fujian Hesheng Industrial Group, NLEPC secured the contract after offering to get power online for CNY 0.478/kWh ($0.058/kWh). Although higher than the local average rates for electricity, NLEPC's bid price was close to the bottom line for such a project to be "reasonable" for the investor, says the company's Zhang Yuan. A similar price given last year by the winning bidder for the Rudong Wind Farm in Jiangsu, also a 100 MW project, was criticised for being so low that investors looking for profits would be scared away from the industry.
Zhang Yuan disagrees: "NLEPC's plan is workable because local wind resources are particularly good, conditions of the World Bank loan are favourable, and NLEPC is experienced in wind power development." The company already owns 60% of the First Phase Changjiang'ao Wind Farm, which became operational in October 2000 and comprises ten Bonus 600 kW turbines supplied by the Bazan-Bonus works in Spain. NLEPC owns or operates around half of China's wind capacity and has ongoing wind farm projects in West China's Inner Mongolia and Gansu.
Pingtan, the home county of Changjiang'ao wind farm, has some of the best wind potential in China, with space for 150 MW and wind speeds averaging 8.4 m/s. As part of Fujian province it could well become a wind rush region. Although Fujian has just two wind farms totalling 12.8 MW, its long term plan is for 1000 MW for the whole province.
Approval from the State Development and Reform Commission is still required for the new 100 MW project, but since the commission sponsored the tendering for two similar sized projects last year and plans to do the same for another three this year, consent is widely expected.
A global tender for wind turbine supply is expected shortly, with sources suggesting 1 MW machines will be preferred over the 600 kW models made in China. The project is scheduled for completion in three years. Annual production is projected at 250 million kWh a year, with revenues in excess of CNY 100 million, providing the government and the company with over CNY 50 million in tax and profits.