Big New Deals in China for U.S. Renewable Energy Companies

Investing Big in Concentrating Solar

If you’d asked us a few weeks ago, we might have said that China was charging ahead in wind and in solar photovoltaics, but was not a big player in the emerging technology of concentrating solar power. That has now changed dramatically. Last week U.S. company eSolar announced a $5 billion, 2 GW deal with Chinese company China Shandong Penglai Electric Power Equipment Manufacturing Co. If eSolar and partners succeed this will be the largest set of concentrating solar plants anywhere in the world.

Concentrating solar (see WRI’s “Juice From Concentrate” for more detail) harnesses the sun’s heat, rather than light and offers the potential for a highly cost effective, clean way to run traditional turbines (the sun heats water to steam, which runs the turbines). It also offers potential for less expensive storage (since heat is cheaper to store than electricity), creating the possibility of running solar plants for longer than the sun shines. It won’t work everywhere: the area of China which has sufficient sun is less than for solar PV, but where it works it offers an excellent new option.

Good News for GE

GE just signed a contract with Chinese wind energy developer HECIC New Energy to supply 88 wind turbines for three projects in Hebei and Shanxi provinces that will result in a total of 132 MW installed wind power.

Image courtesy of SkyFuel, Inc.