Chinese OEMs’ “Amazing Race” to Double-Digit Wind Turbine [Analytical Update]

Last week, Ming Yang Smart Energy (MYSE) released its 8-10MW offshore wind turbine platform at its manufacturing hub in Yangjiang, Guangdong province. For more information, check out my article in Recharge.

It strikes me that, this year alone the Chinese wind market has seen the introductions of at least five newer and larger turbines. While last year (2018), the market is heavily debating whether larger (than 4MW) turbine is necessary. And the demonstrative Xinghua Bay offshore wind project of China Three Gorges was meant to test and compare the performance of the 5MW-6.7MW machines–then considered “mega turbines.”

But in the past three months, OEMs have unleashed one new product after another. The turbine size has quickly leaped from 7+, to 8+, and to 10+MW. The development is so quick that many have lost track of where are all the OEMs are in their journey of turbine R&D.

  • in Feb, a 7.25MW prototype was installed in Guangdong by MYSE
  • in Sep, Shanghai Electric Wind (SEW) produced the nation’s first 8MW
  • in Oct, Goldwind finally produced its long-waited 8MW prototype at Fujian
  • on the same day of Oct, Dongfang Electric delivered the bombshell 10MW prototype
  • during mid-Oct, CSIC Haizhuang released its 10MW design which secured a certification
  • on the last day of Nov, MYSE launched 8-10MW (the one to be installed appear to be an 8MW)
Dongfang Electric’s 10MW permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG)

Besides these, XEMC, Taiyuan Heavy Industries, CRRC are not ready to give up the competition just yet. And all Chinese firms face the looming competition from General Electric’s (GE’s) 12MW Haliadex, to be manufactured from 2021 onward in China.

However, the industry views the race to “double-digit turbine” with different opinions. Some believe that the frontrunner–like Dongfang Electric–will overtake its peers by the 10MW launch; others doubt the reliability of the product development in such a “great-leap-forward” fashion.

And many suspect, the race to “announce” the larger turbine is more of a PR competition.

Envision, notably, has not taken part in the game. Many say it is a wise move to focus on increasing the profitability in the existing market where 4MW remains the mainstream product. But some other says it may be bad PR.

Would the double-digit race go beyond a “competition for good publicity” and become a true innovation to set the Chinese turbine makers ahead in the global market? Let’s see.

The chart below shows the progress of all offshore wind turbine makers in the Chinese market.

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