In February 2012, two China-made wind turbines were put into operation in Sweden, which was the first time that Chinese wind turbines entered the European market, and thus caught great attention on the continent.
Five years ago, the world’s top 10 wind turbine manufacturers were all foreign companies. Now, four Chinese manufacturers have been on the top 10 list, including Sinovel Wind Group Company, the world’s second largest wind turbine maker, following Denmark-based Vestas.
China overtook the United States for the first time in 2010 as the country with the largest installed wind power capacity.
Claes Buhler, CEO of Swedish wind power company CRC Vindkraft AB which purchased the two turbines from Sinovel, is proud to be the first in Europe to choose Chinese wind turbines.
He said that the decision takes some courage and determination because the United States and European countries are quite demanding about wind turbines, and have doubts about China’s wind turbine technology due to lack of understanding, which made it diffluent for CRC to obtain commercial loans from partners. The prices of Chinese wind turbines are generally 15 percent to 20 percent lower than their European counterparts, offering Chinese manufactures a major advantage over their international competitors.
However, Buhler chose Sinovel’s product not just because of its relatively low price tag, but also because of the Chinese company’s high efficiency and thoughtful services. After investigating five manufacturers worldwide, Buhler signed an agreement with Sinovel in June 2011. The two turbines were delivered to CRC in October 2011, and began operating on Feb. 29 this year. Buhler was amazed by Sinovel’s high efficiency, which is rarely seen among European companies.
The two 3MW wind turbines can generate 15,000 megawatt-hours of electricity a year, meeting the annual power demand of more than 3,000 Swedish households. Given the current price of electricity, CRC will recover its investment in the two turbines within seven to eight years, or even faster if the price goes up.
Buhler said that taking the first step is the most difficult and important part of achieving a goal. When expanding into the European market, Chinese companies need an ambitious local partner with strategic vision and great courage so as to set a good example for future expansion.
Chinese companies’ ability to respond quickly to changes in foreign markets can be fully demonstrated only with the support of local partners. Experienced in cooperating with Chinese companies, Buhler knows Chinese people and culture, and has confidence in Chinese products.
As Sinovel’s products are as reliable and competitive as those produced by Vestas, CRC will establish a long-term cooperative partnership with Sinovel, and buy more Chinese wind turbines, Buhler said.