Despite the tightness of global credit markets the Chinese are showing a willingness to finance renewable energy projects wherever they may be. A consortium of Chinese businesses backed by Chinese banks have committed $1.5 billion as part of joint venture to build 36,000-acre, 600-megawatt wind farm in West Texas, using turbines made in China.
The announcement on Thursday named Shenyang Power Group of China, Cielo Wind Power LP and U.S. Renewable Energy Group, a private equity firm based in Austin, Texas as the the three entities involved in the joint venture.
The project shows how much China’s own wind industry has grown and comes two days after U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told lawmakers that the U.S. was falling behind China and others in alternative energy investment.
“With a long track record for building some of the world’s biggest wind farms, the U.S. is a real ideal target for foreign alternative energy investment,” said Jinxiang Lu, Shenyang Power Group’s chairman and chief executive.
The project will use 240 of its 2.5-megawatt turbines. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2010, and the project is expected to create 300 temporary jobs and about 30 permanent jobs. Six hundred megawatts of wind power is enough to meet the electricity needs of between 135,000 and 180,000 American homes for a year.
Chinese wind turbine manufacturer A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd. will begin shipping the 2.5-megawatt turbines in March 2010, built in the company’s plant in the city of Shenyang.
he project’s owners, a joint venture that includes Dallas investor Cappy McGarr, say they’ll get financing from Chinese banks but are relying on a stimulus grant worth as much as $450 million.
“That is a key part of the economics to make the project work,” said Walt Hornaday, president of Austin-based Cielo Wind Power LP, one of three partners in the venture. “Without that, we would not be talking about this project.”