Big shifts seem to be stirring in the wind turbine market. Foreign companies are backing out of China due to China’s move to use more home-grown technology. At the same time, China is looking to expand its wind turbine sales into Europe.
Spanish wind turbine company Acciona recently left China largely because the Chinese market is focused on increasing the development of Chinese wind turbine technology.
Now, China has developed a new type of wind turbine that is supposedly quieter and has lower maintenance costs than currently popular wind turbines and it is looking to export this technology to Europe. The new technology was announced last week by China Association for Science and Technology. The turbines are based on a vertical axis design rather than a more common horizontal axis design.
It looks as if China is trying to reverse its trends in wind turbine imports and exports. Currently, China has about “100 wind turbine producers, which mostly rely on core technologies from foreign companies such as Suzlon and Vestas.” However, the country has already started buying more and more of its wind farm products from Chinese companies, and now it is looking to do the same with technology that has China-owned intellectual property rights.
Apparently, this is nothing new in the renewable energy industry in China. China has already developed an export-heavy solar market with 95% of its solar products going to Europe and the US.
Is this a good thing? Is it bad that China is looking to go only one way in the renewable energy industry? Or is this just a neutral change in the market that isn’t really bad or good in itself? I’ll leave this open for comments.
Image Credit 1: Kaj17 via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: randomix via flickr under a Creative Commons license
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