China is now the world’s largest wind market. IFC is helping build its industry pioneers, China WindPower Group and Xinjiang Goldwind.
In China, it is particularly important to replace fossil fuel-generated electricity with renewable energy as the country continues to grow at close to 10 percent. Outside of hydro power, wind is among the most viable alternatives to coal-based energy generation. Therefore, China has doubled its wind power capacity every year for the last four years and shows no sign of stopping, committed to getting 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Yet, the country’s wind turbine makers and wind farm operators need international know-how and capital to expand and tap into international markets. Both China WindPower and Goldwind sought IFC’s assistance to reach the next level. IFC invested $75 million in Goldwind equity as a cornerstone investor during the company’s initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2010 to bolster the firm’s bid to become a leading wind turbine generator manufacturer.
China WindPower, listed in Hong Kong in 2007, makes wind turbine towers and designs, constructs, and maintains wind farms for itself and other developers.
Having developed wind farms in partnership with large state-owned enterprises, IFC is now financing China WindPower’s first wholly owned project: the 201-megawatt Xiehe plant in northwestern Gansu province, deep in the Gobi desert and one of China’s poorest regions. IFC is providing a $45 million loan for the project, and mobilizing up to $95 million more from leading foreign commercial banks. And we have taken a $10 million equity stake to help China WindPower at the corporate level.
Xiehe is expected to offset more than 421,000 tons of carbon emissions annually over the next 20 years—the equivalent of taking more than 85,000 cars off U.S. roads every year.
Both China WindPower and Goldwind are exploring opportunities outside China, such as in India and Africa. As more and more developing countries move to utilize their wind power potential, both firms can play a major role in helping them go green.