Last week Sandhya Tenneti, a Bangalore-based analyst with , sent the firm's global clients a heads-up: China is about to present a formidable low cost challenge to leading companies in the global wind turbine industry -- posing a significant threat to their long term competitiveness, growth and profitability.
In particular, the management of leading wind energy companies Vestas Windsystems and Gamesa Technologia will be facing a litmus test as two Chinese wind turbine manufacturers roll out their aggressive export plans.
Tenneti cited -- which represents more than 1,500 wind firms in more than 50 nations -- that says China will take the global top spot as #1 manufacturer of wind turbines in 2009.
Current leading wind manufacturers -- which also include the US's General Electric, India's Suzlon and Germany's Enercon -- are soon to be facing fierce global competition. Currently, no Chinese companies are exporting turbines. But in 2009 and 2010, two Chinese companies -- local market leader Goldwind and Sinovel -- have big export plans, and others are not far behind.
GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer told Reuters:
For my members now, one of the big issues is to prepare for the onslaught of relatively inexpensive Chinese turbines onto the world market.
Tenneti provided more detail by e-mail:
China is pursuing renewable energy aggessively with the government having set a goal of doubling the share of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020. As per estimates, China's growth target for renewable energy production will require an investment of approximately $100 billion U.S.D by 2020. In the long term China's objective is to have 30% or more of its total energy requirements satisfied by renewable sources by 2050.
Since the US rejected the Kyoto climate treaty in 2001, the administration's position on global warming has been this: we aren't budging, unless the Chinese do. Looks like the Chinese have more than budged -- they've stolen a march on US industry.
Tenneti's heads-up to global investors bears echoing in Washington. The costs of inaction -- in this instance measured in diminished US global competitiveness -- has been clarified anew. And the positive economic opportunity of climate action is again being demonstrated -- this time not by Japanese automakers, but by wind turbine makers in China.
Now why was it that the Senate stripped support for renewable energy from the energy bill that the President signed into law last December?
And the pending $150 billion economic stimulus package? Any of that earmarked for renewables? which would spur $7 billion in spending by the wind power industry and create 75,000 US jobs this year.
And if Congress can work so quickly to come up with $150 billion to hand out to Americans this election year, and get the rebate checks in everybody's hands before July 4th, just think what it can do to by 2020, to keep pace with China's pending $100 billion investment in renewables.