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Debate on overcapacity blows up in China's wind power sector

Updated: 2009-11-24 13:37

A split has emerged in China's wind power industry over its future development and government policies intended to avoid "excess capacity."

Some of China's leading large-scale wind power businesses have been lobbying the government to slow the growth of the industry because of alleged overcapacity.

They appeared to have won the debate in September when the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved a document from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and nine other ministries, stipulating the NDRC would hold back funding or approval for projects in industries with production overcapacity.

Wind energy was among the industries listed. But the "over-capacity of production" charge is untrue, argued Qin Haiyan, secretary-general of China Wind Energy Association (CWEA).

"The production overcapacity, as widely reported in the media or calculated by some government agencies, is based on the development programs of many enterprises. It is open to question whether these capacities will be realized," said Qin.

 "I strongly oppose the policy of restricting businesses from other manufacturing sectors from entering the wind power sector. And I strongly oppose leading enterprises lobbying the government to restrict the development of the industry on the excuse of excess capacity."

The country has more than 80 wind turbine producers, double the number in 2004, as well as about 50 wind turbine blade producers and nearly 100 tower producers.

"The output of the top three plants, turbines producing about one million kilowatts annually each, is only about a third of the capacity of western giants Vestas, GE and Gamesa," said Qin.

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The debate comes in the run-up to the Wind Power Asia Exhibition and Conference (WPA) in June next year. More than 50 foreign businesses have booked booths, accounting for about one half of the total reservations, said David Feng, managing director of Koelnmesse Co Ltd, the organizer.

WPA 2010, to be held at China National Convention Center in Beijing, near the Bird's Nest, or the Olympic Stadium, is expected to attract more than 500 exhibitors, including the Danish Wind Energy Group, the Association of Technology Transfer of the Netherlands, the Energy Supply Chain from Spain, and the Korea International Trade Association, and about 18,000 industry visitors.

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