Ming Yang Wind Power, Chinese maker of offshore turbines, sets up U.S. base in Raleigh

jmurawski@newsobserver.com March 13, 2012 

A Chinese wind turbine manufacturer today announced the opening of a research-and-development facility in Raleigh in anticipation for demand for its offshore turbines in this country.

Ming Yang Wind Power plans to conduct research on lowering the cost of offshore wind power, which remains one of the most expensive forms of renewable energy. But the company isn’t limiting its U.S. ambitions to research, hoping eventually to establish a factory to assemble and ship its gear to giant wind farms as they are built.

Offshore wind farms use turbines that can be more than twice as large as land-based turbines; they have to be built to withstand hurricanes, require boats for routine maintenance, and depend on miles of undersea cable to connect to power grids.

No offshore wind farms have been built in this country, though a several are under development along the East Coast, including one proposed for offshore North Carolina.

“It will be crucial to bring down some of these costs,” said Shu Ching Quek, President of Ming Yang USA. “They’ve never [performed] to the full potential for what they were designed for.”

Ming Yang was founded in 2006 in the populous Guangdong Province on the South China Sea. The company, which employs about 3,000 people in China, is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and competes with Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Ming Yang this year closed a sales office in Dallas when it decided to relocate to N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus, where it plans to hire 15 people by next year. Ming Yang did not receive state incentives for moving to Centennial Campus, where it currently employs four people.

Quek said offshore turbines are “near impossible” to import because of their colossal size. A blade assembly can exceed the length of a football field. The nacelle, which is the part that generates electricity, can be as large as an automobile.

One way to increase operating efficiencies is to build bigger wind turbines. The company has developed 3 megawatt models but is now working on technology that would be twice as powerful.

“We see this as a first step to showcase our technology,” Quek said. “If we do get orders in the United States, then it would probably make sense to build them here.”

Murawski: 919-829-8932

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service