Siemens eyes mainland wind turbine venture
German industrial giant Siemens is in talks with a potential partner to set up its first wind power turbine manufacturing joint venture on the mainland as part of efforts to expand sales of green products, according to the chief of its energy division.
The venture would make both onshore and offshore wind turbines, said Wolfgang Dehen.
He would not comment on whether the potential partner was its strategic partner, Shanghai Electric, with which it has joint ventures in the production of steam turbines, turbine generators and auxiliary equipment for power stations.
Siemens has a 5 per cent stake in Shanghai and Hong Kong-listed Shanghai Electric amassed during the latter's Hong Kong listing in 2005.
Dehen said Siemens was the world's largest producer of offshore wind farms by installed capacity. It has built 7,793 onshore and offshore wind turbines totalling 8,813 megawatts of capacity.
Siemens has 17 offshore wind projects that have been installed or are in progress, all in Scandinavia and Britain.
The mainland is at an early stage of developing offshore wind power projects and will benefit from foreign technology, especially in projects further away from shore where more sophisticated technology is required.
Last month, state-owned Longyuan Group, which is seeking to spin off its wind farm development business in Hong Kong, commissioned the mainland's first two offshore wind power turbines three kilometres from Rudong, Jiangsu province. They carry Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power Industrial Group's equipment.
Shanghai Electric said in August it aimed to more than triple sales of wind turbines to more than 10 billion yuan (HK$11.37 billion) in the next three to five years.
China's offshore is estimated to have 750,000 megawatts of wind resources, three times that of onshore resources. Offshore projects could generate double the amount of power compared with onshore ones but they could be twice as expensive to build, industry executives said.
Installed wind power generation capacity on the mainland has at least doubled in each of the past four years to 12,170 MW. Beijing is expected to soon unveil a target to lift it to 150,000 MW by 2020.
Meanwhile, Dehen said Siemens hoped to sell its 'smart grid' technology in China, which involves the installation of communication hardware and software to power grids to better manage power demand and supply. This is important, given the rise of renewable energy, whose output is often not steady, has added instability to power supply.
According to a recent study in the United States, the deployment of smart grid technologies and equipment could save energy by 4.1 to 5.8 per cent by 2020, he said.
Siemens estimated it could generate US$6 billion of orders from smart grid technologies and equipment by 2014.
The number of Siemens' offshore wind projects that are installed or in progress: 17