Outside the Chinese market the dominant suppliers of offshore wind turbines are Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, and General Electric. However, after a relatively tough year for all three turbine suppliers this could give the opening needed for the Chinese turbine suppliers to expand beyond the Chinese market.
Contracts for Chinese manufacturers and suppliers on projects outside China are not a new occurrence. The Chinese have been part of European offshore wind since the beginning. However, it has not been on a large industrial scale, where no top tier Chinese suppliers have yet taken root outside China. However, this could now change.
MingYang Smart Energy has shown signs that it is eager to expand its business to other markets. The company has won a small contract for 10 turbines for the Italian project Beleolico and for the floating project TwinHub in the UK. Moreover, MingYang is lobbying to establish a factory in Brazil for manufacturing offshore wind turbines for the Brazilian market when the time comes.
Where market demand has been high, two solid contracts have been awarded to a Chinese manufacturer. Dajin Offshore Heavy Industries has won two monopile contracts for the UK project Moray West and the French project Iles d’Yeu et de Noirmoutier. These projects represent a turning point for Chinese suppliers and manufactures, as it displays the possibility to compete against European competitors and win contracts in Europe. Still, if the Chinese don’t establish manufacturing capacity in Europe, they won’t have the same competitive edge with their European competitors.
The contract awarded to Dajin Offshore Heavy Industries is result of a high demand in the foundation segment in Europe especially for monopiles, a circumstance that has no relationship with the trajectory of Chinese turbine suppliers entering the European market. The European turbine suppliers (Siemens Gamesa and Vestas) are highly regarded among developers for their technology, their strong relationships and further, there is no solid evidence their manufacturing capacity has reached its limit. However, increasing inflation cost is making manufacturing turbines more expensive, which might allow a window of opportunity for Chinese turbine manufactures to enter the European market. The Chinese manufacturers come from a highly competitive market and have been producing and delivering turbines in a low cost framework without jeopardizing quality.
image credit: MingYang Smart Energy