China’s wind giants hatch plans to muscle in on US, Europe

CHINESE turbine makers have made their local wind power market the biggest in the world with a scorching pace of installations. Now, those giants want to take a larger slice of burgeoning global demand.

Companies including Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, Envision Group, and Ming Yang Smart Energy Group have typically made only small inroads into overseas markets, though now they plan to invest in factories abroad to take market share from European and American rivals such as Vestas Wind Systems and General Electric.

China’s largest turbine maker Goldwind said it will be able to “run shoulder by shoulder” with overseas wind giants starting next year, while Ming Yang has made expanding in the offshore wind market in Europe a top priority.

“We take that very seriously,” said Marc Becker, head of the offshore unit at Zamudio, Spain-based Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the largest supplier of offshore turbines outside China. Companies in China “have proven in many industries that they can be fast, and they know how to build turbines”, Becker said.

Competition is heating up with global demand for wind power ready to surge. Regions from Europe to India and South America are scaling up renewable energy installations to help meet aggressive climate goals, and US President Joe Biden has set a target for the US to develop offshore wind capacity of 30 gigawatts by 2030, up from zero today.

Chinese turbine makers have already shown they are capable of competing on size and price. European companies have long competed to deliver the biggest turbines, with Vestas taking the lead earlier this year with a product boasting 15 megawatts of capacity. That title was short-lived after Zhongshan, Guangdong-based Ming Yang topped it with a 16-megawatt machine in August. State-owned China State Shipbuilding has unveiled the largest offshore wind turbine model, which also has 16 megawatts of capacity and a rotor diameter of 256 metres, according to BloombergNEF. Larger turbines should help Chinese players make more inroads in the offshore wind sector.