Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Ming Yang Smart Energy Group is planning to set up a major manufacturing facility in Germany in a bid to capture a chunk of Europe’s fast-growing renewable power market.
The factory will be able to produce turbines with the power capacity of at least a gigawatt each year, and will also supply components and parts to European buyers, Ming Yang vice president Ye Fan said. The aim is to start building the plant, probably in south Germany, within three years, he said.
Ming Yang’s facility will be the first major wind equipment manufacturing hub built by a Chinese company in Europe, although some of its domestic rivals already have a presence in the region.
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology has a majority stake in German turbine manufacturer Vensys Energy, and Envision Energy has a research centre in the UK.
China’s top wind turbine makers, which account for around 60% of global production, are vying to enter Europe as authorities there strengthen pollution reduction goals.
The global offshore wind sector is poised to grow more than tenfold over the next 15 years, with Europe making up a large chunk of expansion in the near term. Chinese wind turbine manufacturers now account for 63% of offshore wind installations globally and 59% of those onshore.
Meanwhile, China is also understood to be planning to create two rare earth mining giants in an effort to gain better pricing power in global markets. The country's government is aiming to eventually consolidate all its rare earth miners and processors into two huge firms, one in the north and one in the south.
The one in southern China will oversee medium-to-heavy rare earths, and the other in the north will control all light rare earths. It’s unclear when the merger will be completed.
Beijing has been restructuring the industry for years into six large state-controlled groups. By consolidating, it hopes to maintain its dominance in the production of the strategic metals, of which it controls 70%, as the US and Europe look to develop their own production and supply chains and diversify away from China.
Beijing’s decision, almost 30 years ago, to make rare earths a strategic material, and ban foreigners from mining them helped pave the way for China to elbow aside the US as the world’s leading producer. The minerals’ biggest usage is in permanent magnets found in everything from phones to computers to cars.