By Michael Kanellos
A-Power Wind Generation Systems (NASDAQ:APWR) and the U.S. Renewable Energy Group have said that they will build a wind turbine factory in the U.S. that will produce 1,100 megawatts worth of wind turbines a year and employ approximately 1,000 American workers.
One-thousand jobs is great, but the real interesting part is who the companies are. China's A-Power and U.S. Renewable are part of a joint venture that wants to build a 600-megawatt wind farm in Texas that is something of a Chinese creation. Shenyang Power Group, the U.S. Renewable Energy Group and Cielo Wind Power. Shenyang will own 49 percent of the project. It will employ turbines from A-Power Generation. Jinxiang Lu is CEO of both SPG and A-Power. Commercial banks in China will provide financing.
When it was first announced, the joint venture said that the Texas wind farm would create about 2,800 jobs, but only about 240 in the U.S. U.S. politicians began to thunder. Hence the change.
"A-Power sees great opportunities in renewable energy in America and this state-of-the-art facility will be our first major step towards bringing clean, renewable energy to the world's largest wind power country," said John Lin, A-Power's Director and COO in a prepared statement.
And the key takeaway for you job seekers is this: Brush up on your knowledge of international relations. Just as Japanese manufacturers became large employers in the '80s in the U.S. Chinese manufacturers seem posed to do the same in the next decade. Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP) plans to open a module assembly facility in Arizona. Duke Energy Services (NYSE:DUK) has linked up with China's ENN, which makes thin-film solar panels and develops solar farms, to bid on contracts for utility-scale solar farms and large commercial solar projects in the U.S. Duke will bring its expertise in navigating through public hearings and the legal hurdles of getting large-scale projects off the ground along with technology for building them to the 50/50 partnership, while ENN will provide expertise for building solar farms and possibly solar panels.
And let's not forget Coda Automotive, which wants to bring an electric car effectively designed and built in China to the U.S. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is an investor.