A Chinese maker of turbines is headed to a Texas wind farm, agreeing to buy steel from U.S. producers after lawmakers objected to the foreign production of the equipment. The United Steelworkers Union announced that Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd based in Shenyang, China and Shenyang Power Group anticipate buying about 50,000 tons of steel produced by American mills. The companies will also buy parts from American suppliers and invest in a plant in Nevada.
Union President Leo Gerard says this is a new model. “They will work with us to develop and grow the domestic wind energy supply chain,” he says. “But I don’t have any illusions that this will be easy.”
A wind turbine contains about 8,000 parts, many of which might not be made in the U.S., Gerard explains. So Chinese companies have agreed contract American companies when practical. As a result of the agreement, the project should qualify for stimulus funding and the products, if made domestically, wouldn’t face anti-dumping complaints.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D, NY) and Sherrod Brown (D,OH) have criticized the Texas wind farm saying the federal aid it was seeking would essentially subsidize jobs in China because much of the turbine manufacturing would take place in there. Lawmakers have pushed for “Buy American” rules to limit government funding for foreign suppliers.
“We can’t replace our dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on Chinese made wind turbines,” Brown says. “This agreement is an important step forward.” Cappy McGarr, managing partner of U.S. Renewable Energy Group, said in a steelworkers’ statement, “This deal will result in hundreds of American jobs and help create a clean energy future for the U.S.”
Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd www.apowerenergy.com
United Steel Workers Union www.usw.org
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