New International Wind Farm Projects Attract Significant Investment

Despite continued global economic uncertainty - uncertainty which is reducing the volume and frequency of announced investment in renewable energy projects - investment in wind farms and wind energy generation projects has remained surprisingly stable. To illustrate the investment potential that wind power markets hold, I have highlighted 3 major international wind power projects which have recently been announced. Individually and collectively, these projects not only illuminate the fact that new renewable energy projects abound, but also showcase the renewable energy sector's short and long term economic and investment potential.

China: Construction Of Two Major Wind Farms Is Expected To Start By The End Of 2010

Last week, following the Chinese government's announcement that PetroChina will be forging an aggressive partnership with Royal Dutch Shell, the Chinese government announced that it intends to commence construction on two major Chinese wind power farms within the next month. The wind farms, which will be financed using private and public lenders, will be located in the valleys of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, specifically Xiliangshan and Mabaidashan.  Construction is expected to begin after a final environmental feasibility research review is completed. Upon completion, the two wind farms will have an installed capacity of approximately 49.5MW, and are expected to come online in early 2011. Overall, while the scope of the project is small, it is important to recognize that wind power projects continue to attract major investment within China. In fact, China is currently the world's largest wind power producer. Cumulatively, the Chinese wind power market segment is estimated to be worth more than US$13 billion. In 2009, China more than doubled its wind power capacity to 25.1gigawatts (GW) from 12.1GW in 2008.

India: Acciona Begins Construction On Its Third Indian Wind Farm

Early last week, Spanish wind power developer Acciona Energy announced that it will be building a third wind turbine farm in Karnataka state, India. The farm will contain a total of thirty four, 1,650 kW turbines. This farm, along with the new 56 MW Tuppadahalli wind farm, are expected to be operational in 2011. Together, it is estimated that the total cost to build both projects will be US$58 million. Upon completion, the energy produced from these farms will replace the nearly 167,000 tonnes of CO2 that are emitted from traditional energy generation in Karnataka. From an analytical standpoint, it is important to recognize that Indian wind power projects - particularly those being built and financed by private, international investment firms (and corporations), continue to significantly impact India's power generation mix. Just recently, the Indian government announced that by 2022, it will have more than 20,000MW of wind generating capacity. Current wind capacity in India is 10,500MW. While this number pales in comparison to China, it is important to note that wind power projects are the biggest source of renewable energy in India, currently producing nearly 80% of the total renewable energy produced within the country.

Vietnam: EAB Group Announces New Vietnamese Wind Power Project

Just recently, German wind farm developer EAB Group - in a joint venture with Vietnamese trading production company Trasesco - announced plans to jointly develop a wind power technology project in Vinh Tan and Vinh Phuoc in Soc Trang. EAB, the company overseeing construction on the project (which is expected to begin in 2011), has also expressed interest in further developing projects in the Soc Trang province; a locale that is particularly suited to wind power generation.