Latin America may be an emerging market for Chinese wind power companies’ long-term strategic plan, said Pan Yantian, general manager of Goldwind International, the international subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Techonology Co Ltd, one of China’s leading wind turbine manufacturers.
“In the global wind power market, Latin America is of great potential, as it has high demand, rich wind resources, and clear policy planning, as well as good power facilities,” Pan said.
Last year, the new wind power installed capacity in Latin America was 3,749 megawatts, but Chinese companies account for less than 100 mW.
Among Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, Goldwind has the most extensive layout in Latin America.
The company entered the Latin American market in 2007 and supplied six wind turbines to Cuba in 2009.
In Chile, the company has 22 units of GW87/1500 turbines, totaling 33 mW.
According to Pan, the company has provided project engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and wind turbine units in Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Bolivia, Chile and others. In Panama, it has invested in a wind farm and achieved good economic benefits. The two wind farms installed with Goldwind’s turbines in Panama have total capacity of 270 mW.
The most common model of Chinese enterprises in Latin America is providing EPC services for wind power projects. Goldwind’s strategy is more flexible.
According to Pan, the company’s business model includes wind turbine sales, engineering, EPC, investment and transfer of wind farm projects.
The Panama project (Phrase I) is its first autonomous investment case in Latin America, and because of the good operational performance, it led to the successful direct sale of wind turbines for Panama Project (Phrase II).
The success in Panama gave Goldwind more influence in Latin America.
Pan said that each country in the region has its own unique situation and different policy. For example, countries like Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Argentina are more market-oriented and have enacted new energy regulations. They have started auction processes. However, most of their wind turbine suppliers are brands from US and Europe.
He said that Brazil has a wind power installation target with huge capacity according to the country’s plan, but the localization requirement for wind power manufacturers is very high.
“There are challenges in financing, policy as well as localization,” he said. “Besides making our products more competitive, we need cross-border policies from the top down to ensure sustainability.”