Wind energy becomes more and more an essential and valuable part of the world’s energy markets for the foreseeable future. The total global cumulative wind capacity will be over 705 (!) GW by the end of 2020 according to Navigant Research, a market research and consulting team that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. But something is going on, warns Navigant analyst Jesse Broehl. He notes that there are effectively two wind markets: China and the rest of the world. The split is not only in total capacity installed in a given year but also in the underlying wind turbine supplier dynamics.
The International Energy Agency announced that renewable energy surpassed coal in terms of cumulative capacity last year. Investment in the sector also hit a record high with $ 348 billion, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed. A substantial part of these investments related to wind energy. In fact, growth occurred in almost every wind market—from the long-established European countries to new markets in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. On a cumulative basis, global wind power capacity grew to 434.1 GW in 2015 from 372.3 GW the prior year, with North America and Latin America and several EU-countries as fast movers.
But the Asian markets are really driving wind demand - particularly China. The combined markets of South and East Asia represented 52.6 percent of global wind power capacity in 2015, up from 50.6 percent in 2014. Almost all of this annual record was driven by China, which installed a remarkable 30.2 GW - up from a record 23.3 GW in 2014, which itself was an incredible achievement according to Broehl. Annual capacity installations above 20 GW are expected again for 2016 and in near-term years. Against this background it is easy to assume that the Chinese market offers enormous opportunities for wind turbine suppliers, engineering firms and so forth. There is only one problem: China shows an overwhelming preference for its domestic vendors.
Building the bridge
To unlock the potential of the Chinese market Western suppliers of technology and knowledge are therefore wise to team up with Chinese partners, says Jan Willem Bloois, Sales Director of KCI Engineering. Oceanteam and KCI recently signed a long-term representing and consultancy agreement with OFFCO, an international company with both Dutch and Chinese partners, enabling it to build the bridge between the Netherlands and China.
The firm has a unique track record in Chinese offshore renewables activities, build on a strong local market presence and contacts at all levels with Chinese companies and the Chinese authorities. OFFCO is also well connected with the leading Offshore Wind Energy Developers in China. According to Mr. Bloois, the agreement is most promising for the future. “Neither KCI nor Oceanteam have an extensive sales network in China, being a notoriously difficult market to enter. OFFCO knows the Chinese market and speaks the language. At the same time it is a partner that we know already very well for many years.”