China Kicks off Renewable Energy Drive with Wind Farms

by: Kelvin Schulle

China has been rolling out policy to support renewable energy industry in the last 12 months. The nation set target of 17% of electricity in 2017 needs to be generated from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The wind energy is reportedly to reach 3% by 2017.

China also set up feed-in tariff for solar farm projects, and will cover 50% of the development cost of any solar farms. So far, the domestic companies such as Renesola (NYSE:SOL), Suntech (NYSE:STP), Yingli Green (NYSE:YGE) and solarfun (SOLF) will benefit from the policy. U.S. competitors such as First solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and Sunpower (SPWRA) are not eligible for the moment, although the government may extend the support to overseas companies. On the other hand, U.S. commercial rooftop BIPV demand picked up in recently months, company like Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER) are ramping up production and tied knot with Johns Manville (JM), a leading global manufacturer of an extensive line of energy-efficient building products, to deliver PV system to commercial rooftops. It is believed that First Solar also entering rooftop BIPV market either by an acquisition or developing its own technology.

China is apparently the fastest to act in these days. On the weekend, China kicks off its green movement with a 10GW wind farm in western Gansu province. The farm will be developed by 20 developers and will be completed by 2010, local companies such as A-power (NASDAQ:APWR) and Jinfeng Hi-tech, a Shanghai listed local wind turbine companies are part of the projects, GE (NYSE:GE) is believed to be a big player through its joint venture with A-power, which reportedly has over 2GW capacity annually. The follow-up projects in Gansu could reach 40GW according to the reuters report.

Also according to the government-run media People's Daily report on Monday, Inner Mongolia, Hebei province, northeast China, northwest China and east China coastal regions are focused regions for wind power base construction. China is planning to build seven 10-gW wind farms.

Disclosure: Author is long FSLR SOL YGE ENER GE APWR SPWRA