China and India trying to harness
the power of wind
Sept 19, 2006 - Angela Macdonald-Smith - Bloomberg
Global scramble to develop alternative sources
of energy has industry executives focusing on emerging
SYDNEY: China and India are accelerating development
of wind power, luring companies including the turbine
maker Vestas Wind Systems, as restrictions hamper
wind farm construction in traditional markets like
"The biggest markets in the next decade
will probably be India and China in particular," said
Achim Hoehne, amanager at the PB Power unit of the
engineering services company Parsons Brinckerhoff.
"Australia had a good market until about a year ago.
Since then, companies are looking for other opportunities."
A venture partly owned by CLP Holdings of Hong Kong
earlier this year scrapped more than $400 million
of projects in Australia, where quotas on renewable
energy have almost been met, in favor of China and
India. Vestas Wind, the world's biggest wind turbine
maker, and Suzlon Energy of India, Asia's largest
wind turbine maker, are expanding in China.
oil prices have stayed above $50 a barrel for 15 months,
prompting a global scramble to develop alternative
energy sources. China, which gets two- thirds of its
power from coal, is also trying to cut pollution.
China added almost 500 megawatts of wind energy capacity
in 2005, more than double the previous year, according
to the Global Wind Energy Council. That compares with
growth of 11 percent in Germany, the world's largest
wind market, where capacity reached 18,428 megawatts,
the council, which is based in Brussels, said. China
may add 2,000 megawatts of capacity this year, it
That's making the market more attractive than countries
like Australia, where investments in wind projects
have slowed as a government target for renewable energy
use is reached.
"I would say the Australian market
has seen a collapse, while there's a very significant
outlook in China and other countries, but China in
particular," said Mark Kelleher, managing director
of Roaring 40s Renewable Energy, CLP's sustainable
energy venture with Hydro Tasmania in Australia.
Power's Hoehne is among wind power industry executives
due to speak at the Global Windpower 2006 conference
that started Tuesday in Adelaide, Australia. Li Junfeng,
vice president of the China Renewable Energy Association,
Vilas Muttemwar, India's minister for non-conventional
energy sources, Brett Thomas, managing director of
Acciona's Oceania unit, and Mohammed Boutaleb, Morocco's
mines and energy minister are also scheduled to address
the three-day event.
China has a target of 5,000 megawatts
of wind capacity by 2010 and a goal of 30,000 megawatts
by 2020, said Andrew Richards, president of the Australian
Wind Energy Association. China National Offshore,
the country's third-largest oil company, said Aug.
29 that it was studying building offshore wind farms.
"Everyone is positioning themselves to be there and
be ready when things really open up," said Dan Kofoed
Hansen, managing director of the Australian unit of
Ahmedabad-based Suzlon. "China is still in its infancy
as a market as such."
A plan to triple use of wind
power in Japan, which imports almost all of its oil,
is being undermined because of concern that power
surges from wind farms could be disruptive. Unlike
Germany, Japan lacks the national grid needed to iron
out supply fluctuations from such projects.
government drafted a plan in May 2005 to increase
wind power generation to 3,000 megawatts in the five
years to March 2011. As of March, Japan had a little
more than 1,000 megawatts.
In China, the renewable
power market still favors local companies over foreign
ones, Hansen said. This is among deficiencies that
probably need to be removed before the market fulfils
projections of its potential, he said.
power equipment is competitive compared with imported
gear because the production base is nearby and it
costs less to repair and maintain the equipment,"
said He Lixin, deputy chief of the energy department
at the Xinjiang Development and Reform Commission,
which overseas China's biggest wind farm.
based in Randers, Denmark, opened a factory in northeast
China in June, while Repower Systems, a German rival,
signed a contract earlier this month to take control
of a Chinese wind turbine manufacturing venture.
generation from renewable sources, while more expensive
than coal-fired production, has the advantage of lower
carbon dioxide emissions. China, the world's biggest
sulfur dioxide polluter, plans to set up a carbon
emissions exchange by the year end to encourage cleaner
Last year, about $14 billion of
investments were made in the global wind energy industry,
and this is set to increase, Thorbjorn Rassmussen,
vice-chairman of the Global Wind Energy Council,said
Tuesday at the opening session of the conference.
The growth of the Indian wind energy market is supported
by legislation that encourages renewable energy projects,
Hansen said. The regulations still favor local companies
over international power producers, he said. India
is the world's fourth-biggest wind energy market and
is expanding, said Rassmussen, who is also president
of Vestas's Asia-Pacific unit.
Foreign companies need an Indian partner for wind-generation
projects, said J.R. Mesram, director for wind energy
at the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources.
Australian investment in wind energy projects slowed
last year as the nation's renewable energy industry
neared the 2010 legislated target. Roaring 40s started
studying ventures in China at least 18 months ago,
"We foresaw that within 18 months that
Australia's existing, very small target would be subscribed,
and there wouldn't be many more projects going ahead,"
he said. "Companies are unlikely to thrive here now
simply by operating in the Australian market."