Thursday, 16 June 2011

Chinese lead world in clean energy spending

Weekend Australian
4 June 2011, Page: 8

MOST of us know China is leading world economic growth but it will surprise many to learn another category where the Chinese are also ahead of the rest. Private investment in China's clean energy sector increased by 39% last year to a world record $54.4 billion, according to the report Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?, published by Pew Research Center Charitable Trusts.

The report says China is the world's leading producer of wind turbines and solar modules, and in 2009 it surpassed the US as the country with the most installed clean energy capacity. Worldwide investment in clean power assets alone could reach $2.3 trillion over the 2010 20 period, according to Pew Research Center research.

"One of the key reasons for China developing clean technology is to find solutions to their own environmental problems, which are significant", says John O'Brien, Australian CleanTech managing director. "There are a lot of Chinese investors keen to invest in both renewable energy and clean technology. A lot of the drive comes from the central government, [which provides] a lot of financial incentives such as [access to government loans] to fund your project, especially in the area of wind turbines".

One company benefiting enormously from the Chinese green push is Goldwind. "Goldwind is the leading supplier of permanent magnet, direct drive wind turbines in China and the world", says managing director John Titchen. "Permanent magnets replace part of the generator, increasing efficiency and reducing the size of the generator. Direct drive refers to the absence of a gear box that is used in most wind turbines this eliminates a major wind turbine maintenance issue and improves efficiency".

Goldwind supplied about 21% of the 19 GW Chinese wind turbine market last year This represents about 10% of the global wind power market and, as a result, Goldwind was last year ranked the world's fourth largest wind turbine supplier. Goldwind was established in 1986 (under the name of the Xinjiang Wind Energy Company) and now has 3900 employees and operates 14 factories with a total annual production of 4000 wind turbines. Goldwind Australia was established in late 2009.

"Goldwind Australia's first project is the Mortons Lane wind farm where 131.5 MW turbines will be installed in Western Victoria later this year", Titchen says. China installed 17 GW of wind power last year, helping the nation move quickly toward its 2020 target for installing 150 GW of wind. In fact, China accounted for 47% of all wind power investments globally, with $45bn tallied, the report says.