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China’s Goldwind Expanding in U.S. as Rivals Cut Back

A worker assembles wind turbines at Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd. in Urumuqi, China. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., China’s second-largest wind-turbine maker, indicated it’s picking up market share in the U.S. as falling prices and expiring subsidies force rivals to pare back.

Goldwind bought two 10-megawatt wind farms in Montana to showcase its equipment and has taken orders in seven other U.S. states since it started sales in the region in June 2010, according to a company statement released yesterday.

The U.S. government allowed an incentive for the wind industry to expire in December and hasn’t acted to extend a tax credit due to lapse at the end of 2012. Goldwind’s market share is growing the fastest of the top five companies concentrated on turbines, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show.

“Goldwind has financed a large-scale project to prove its turbine viability, and the other Chinese manufacturers haven’t done that,” Amy Grace, a wind industry analyst for the London-based researcher, said in an interview. “There’s no question that Goldwind will have more U.S. sales.”

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest turbine manufacturer, has said it may cut 1,600 jobs in the U.S. unless the government extends the Production Tax Credit. Last week, the Danish company said it would pare 2,335 jobs worldwide to reduce costs as competition from Asia compresses its margins.

U.S. Market

Wind-turbine makers may install 9 gigawatts of capacity in the U.S. this year before the Production Tax Credit ends, compared with about 6.5 gigawatts in 2011, New Energy Finance said, noting sales may “crash” in 2013 without the credit.

Goldwind said the wind farms it bought in Shawmut, Montana, from the U.S. unit of Germany’s Volkswind GmbH will form the Musselshell project. Goldwind turbines are already operating in Minnesota and Iowa.

After a 71 percent jump in sales in 2010, Goldwind is seeking to expand outside China into other markets dominated by Vestas, General Electric Co. and Siemens AG, the biggest suppliers in the U.S., Grace said.

“They’re truly an international company, with research and development in Germany and China and a largely American team in the U.S.,” she said.

Goldwind’s Musselshell project is expected to go into operation as early as the third quarter, the company said. The price wasn’t disclosed. Northwestern Corp.’s Northwest Energy will buy the power.

The plant will use Goldwind’s permanent magnet turbines, which don’t need a gearbox, reducing maintenance and increasing efficiency.

Almost all of the towers for the Chinese company’s U.S. projects come from Naperville, Illinois-based Broadwind Energy Inc., Colin Mahoney, a spokesman for Goldwind’s U.S. unit, said in an e-mail. Most of the blades come from a LM Wind Power Group plant in North Dakota.

The company had turbines with capacity of 9 megawatts “substantially complete” in the U.S. at the end of December and 117 megawatts under construction, he said.

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