China Windpower eyes offshore, hybrid projects

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 March, 2010, 12:00am

China Windpower plans to venture into offshore wind power and solar-wind hybrid projects, its chief says, after the firm reported a doubling of nine-month profit.

The clean-energy project developer, controlled by its management team and Hong Kong businessman Johnson Ko Chun-shun, posted a net profit of HK$181.24 million and turnover of HK$562.6 million for the nine months to December 31.

A year-on-year comparison is not available as the company changed its year-end from March to December to coincide with that of its projects.

In the 12 months to March 31 last year, net profit was HK$116.8 million and turnover was HK$379.4 million.

Profit was bolstered mainly by wind tower tube production, wind power project consultancy, design, engineering and construction, which together made up 82 per cent of operating profit in the nine months.

Profit from operating its own wind farms accounted for 18 per cent, as many of the projects only came on stream last year.

Chairman Liu Shunxing expected profit contribution from its own wind projects to exceed 20 per cent this year as it plans to more than double their operating capacity.

Some 566 megawatts are in operation, of which 257MW are owned by China Windpower based on its shareholding. It has budgeted HK$900 million of equity capital to construct 700MW of new units, of which 500MW are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Plants in operation, under construction or committed to be built total 914MW, of which 566MW are owned by the firm by shareholding.

Including projects on which it obtained development rights from the government, it has 9,510MW of wind power resources. Most of its projects being developed are located in northern and northeast China.

However, Liu said the company was preparing to venture into the more technology- and capital-intensive offshore wind power segment, where equipment costs are falling and equipment reliability is improving, based on European experience.

The attractions of the offshore segment include rich resources and higher affordability of consumers in developed coastal regions.

Still, he said its offshore expansion would be slow as technology advancement meant more onshore resources previously not economical had become lucrative.

Solar-wind hybrid projects are also a priority for development because the complementary nature of the peak operating hours of the two clean energies would greatly enhance their economics, he said.