Nationalistic hubris in evidence as Sinovel rolls out 6MW turbine
Chinese turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group has completed prototype production of a new 6MW model that it proudly claims matches world's most powerful class of turbine. Unfortunately for Sinovel's overeager publicists, German market leader Enercon has had a 7.5MW turbine up and running since January.
Looking ahead, and perhaps as tacit acknowledgement that his company is not yet top dog, Sinovel senior vice president Tao Gang says development has started on a 10MW turbine.
Sinovel overtook GE to become the world's second largest wind turbine maker earlier this year and the new SL6000 model model puts its in the same league as global market leader Vestas of Denmark and REpower, another German company.
The new design, with 128 metre blades that are claimed to increases efficiency and wind capture capability, is likely to give Sinovel extra leverage in China's highly-fragmented market.
There are currently more than 80 local and overseas companies building wind turbines in China to help meet the country's voracious demand. Among them is Spanish company Gamesa, which has just announced the opening its fifth Chinese manufacturing plant.
The Spanish firm's new factory in Jiliin assembles nacelles for it's G9X-2MW turbine, with an initial annual capacity of 500MW. Gamesa is planning another two plants in China, which is its largest manufacturing base outside Spain and accounted for 28 per cent of revenues last year. Since entering the China market a decade ago Gamesa has installed almost 3,000 turbines at more than 60 sites.
Sinovel's Tao said indigenous production of 6MW turbines will accelerate development of offshore wind power in China, which thus far has been relatively slow to get going. The first off-shore project, the 100MW Donghai Bridge Wind Farm near Shanghai, came on-line August 2010 to coincide with the World Expo.
The country does, however, have major plans to develop its off-shore wind potential, which is estimated to be 750GW - three time that of its land-based resources. Last year tendering was completed for wind farms totalling 1GW in capacity off the coast of Jiangsu Province, with development due to start later this year. A further 1GW of off-shore capacity is expected to be tendered this year.