Chinese companies eye US wind market

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ORLANDO – “After completing the construction of 14 wind turbines this year, Haizhuang plans to build 25 to 50 turbines in the United States next year,” said Yang Benxin, chairman of CSIC (Chongqing) Haizhuang Windpower Equipment at the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exhibition.

WINDPOWER 2015, the largest annual wind energy trade show in the western hemisphere, attracts about 400 exhibitors this year, including wind major energy companies like Vestas, General Electric (GE) and Siemens. Several Chinese companies have also set up booths introducing their companies while meeting potential clients.

“We have attended this exhibition several years now but this is the first time we rent a booth, as we are building 14 wind turbines in the state of Iowa. We need to make a debut here,” Yang told Xinhua at the company’s booth.

Haizhuang is a top 10 Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. It entered the US wind power market in 2012, building two prototype wind turbines of 2 MW each in Iowa, to tap the US market.

“That two prototype turbines have been running very well in the last three years. Through these, we test our technology and learn the operation and management of the US wind power market, as well as its requirements on environmental protection, land use and grid access,” Yang said.

The United States is the world’s second largest wind market after China in installation capacity and the US market is fully developed with considerable profits, which is attractive for Chinese companies.

Since Chinese companies have just started to enter this market and occupied less than one percent of total market share, there is still room for them to develop in the US.

Goldwind, the world’s second largest wind turbines suppler based in Xinjiang, China, came to the US in 2010. After five years of development, it has built about 100 wind turbines in the vast country.

“For a new company in the United States, this performance is quite good,” David Halligan, CEO of Goldwind USA, told Xinhua at the exhibition.

Halligan said it still needs time to educate customers to accept the permanent magnet direct-drive technology that Goldwind uses in manufacturing wind turbines and the US market is very competitive, dominated by GE, Siemens and some other big wind enterprises.

Having the ambition to further explore the US market, Yang said he wanted to do it step by step considering the difference between China and US market. “First prototype, then small quantities, finally mass quantity supplier is the way we choose,” he said.

Yang also wants to introduce local investors to share building cost of wind turbines if they can get more orders in the US in the future.

Ming Lin, deputy manager of Market Development Center of Guodian United Power, China’s second largest wind turbine producer, told Xinhua that patent is a critical element for Chinese companies to watch out in the US market. “Our wind turbine is developed based on double fed technology, similar to that of GE, which owns quite a lot of patents in this area. If we can expand our share in the US market in the future, we need to study the patent issue,” he said.

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