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German Offshore Wind Farm to Use China's 18.5 MW Turbines Amidst Controversy

A German offshore wind project is set to use Ming Yang Smart Energy's powerful 18.5 MW turbines, stirring industry concerns and prompting government review.

Image: Mingyang Smart EnergyImage: Mingyang Smart Energy

A new offshore wind farm in the German North Sea has signed a preferred supplier agreement with China’s Ming Yang Smart Energy for the world's largest 18.5 MW turbines. This selection could make it the first project to employ these massive turbines, but it has sparked industry resistance and a government review.

Luxcara, a German asset manager, announced the agreement for 16 turbines to be installed at the Waterkant site in 2028. This follows Luxcara’s win in the German government's August 2023 auction. The site is about 55 miles from Borkum in the North Sea.

Chosen through an international tender and after thorough due diligence, Ming Yang committed to using renewable energy for manufacturing and sourcing electrical components from European suppliers. The decision, supported by experts from DNV and KPMG, considered technological, financial, and environmental factors, as well as supply chain and cyber security compliance.

The European wind industry lobby criticized the deal, citing potential risks of Chinese access to EU infrastructure and unfair competition. This follows the European Commission's April 2024 announcement of a market review for Chinese competition distortions. Germany's economy minister also expressed concerns about fair competition, coinciding with Germany blocking a deal to sell MAN’s gas turbine business to a Chinese state-owned subsidiary.

Chinese wind turbine manufacturers are eager to enter the European market. Luxcara aims to maximize production and expedite Germany’s energy transition with these large turbines, ensuring control remains with an independent German company.

Ming Yang's turbines, announced in 2023, feature a lightweight design with large carbon-fiber blades and an integrated drivetrain. Suited for medium to high wind regions and typhoons, the 260-meter rotor turbines will generate electricity for approximately 400,000 homes.

Other Chinese manufacturers, CSSC Haizhuang and Dongfang, have also announced 18 MW turbines, with prototypes installed earlier this year. GE Verona, initially planning a competing turbine, has shifted focus to 15 MW turbines.

The Maritime Executive
M. Tschierschke

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