Shanghai offshore wind farm claims world first

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(Huaneng Renewables will take 17 of the SL6000 model. Photograph: Sinove)

Sinovel, China’s largest wind turbine maker, will put a set of 6-megawatt (mw) wind turbines into operation off the coast of Shanghai in what is claimed to be the world’s first large-scale commercial application of such powerful offshore wind turbines.

Sinovel will supply Huaneng Renewables, a leading Chinese wind farm developer, with17 units of 6-mw offshore wind turbines in the first stage of a pilot offshore wind farm in the Lingang sea area of Shanghai, Sinovel said on Thursday. (People’s Daily Online)
Qiong Xie on Wind Turbine IP

“Chinese offshore wind turbine manufacturing companies are eager to become top competitors in the global market, with the hope of securing intellectual property rights, especially for core technologies such as electrical control systems. Currently even Chinese companies with strong research and development (R&D) capacities, like Sinovel Wind Group Co., Ltd, still rely heavily on foreign companies for core technologies. As one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, Sinovel has independently designed and manufactured large-scale onshore, offshore and intertidal wind turbines, but it still depends on supply partnerships with foreign companies for specific technologies. For instance, to develop suitable turbines for the East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm, Sinovel had to buy key components, including electrical control systems, power converters, and yaw converters, from the American Superconductor® (AMSC®).”

Caixin on Sinovel and its unsustainable expansion

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“No one in the industry is doing too well,” said an investor with stakes in Sinovel suppliers. “In the first half of the year, several big domestic turbine factories were in a semi-shutdown state. Sinovel’s situation is the worst (…) It increased capacity too quickly. If customers knock down orders, there will be high inventory pressure and problems with cash flow”. 

Much like many other things in China, the wind power industry is also facing tougher times ahead. The negative consequences of unsustainable, explosive expansions, symptomatic to many Chinese ventures and Chinese economy in general, are finally coming up to the surface. Expansion happens too quickly and most of it is expanded on shaky grounds. Let one thing go wrong and the house of cards will most definitely fall down. 

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