Most folks by now know about China’s wind power boom. At the end of 2007, the nation's installed base of wind energy was just over six gigawatts. By the end of 2008, it will climb to ten gigawatts. By 2010, experts predict 20 gigawatts. And by 2020, 100 gigawatts.
That’s more than all of the world's wind power today, which stands at 94 gigawatts.
But here’s the thing that’s really striking: China is gaining speed as the global leader in the manufacture of wind power parts, too. Indeed, its equipment may feed the whole planet's appetite for wind energy one day.
Think toys, but healthier.
China’s doing so by quietly mass-producing the equipment and components that the wind energy industry in China -- and everywhere else -- needs to sustain its titanic growth.
You may recall this projection by the Global World Wind Energy Council (GWEC) -- that China's on track to be the world's #1 manufacturer of wind turbines in ‘09.
Well, it turns out there’s even more to the story. China is also cornering the market for bearings, blades and gearboxes -- nearly everything needed to harness the kinetic energy of wind.
Renewable Energy World has .
Amazing how things change:
As recently as late 2007, Chinese wind power equipment was incapable of producing megawatt-class wind turbines.
Megawatt-class turbines are increasingly produced domestically.
How’s Beijing doing it?
To help spur the development of an indigenous wind power equipment and components industry, Beijing has mandated that all new wind power projects have at least a 70% Chinese component. Wind power equipment manufacturers also now enjoy a 50% discount on value added taxes (VAT) payable in China.
Why they’re doing it is crystal clear: cha-ching.
Already there are more than 100 Chinese companies cashing in on wind equipment production. And while foreign manufacturers (Vestas, Suzlon, Gamesa, Nordex Corp., Honiton Energy Ltd. and GE Energy) are still a giant presence in China, you can bet they’re feeling the local competition. In fact, their share of the wind equipment market in China already has declined from nearly 75% a few years ago to 55% now.
What does this tell us?
Wind power parts are increasingly made in China -- and then sold in China, and in other exploding wind markets, too.
And that means America’s favorite whipping boy on global warming is both acting to solve climate and building itself a giant, multi-billion dollar green-jobs industry in the process.
Time for Washington to stop pointing fingers on clean energy solutions and start lifting one for a change. Failing to do so will be a quick ticket to the deterioration of US global competitiveness.