Bar Funds for China-Backed Wind Farm, Senator Says

Kim Chipman and John Duce
Fri. Nov 6, 2009

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration should bar a $1.5 billion wind-farm project in Texas from receiving U.S. government stimulus funds because most of the power turbines would be made in China, Senator Charles Schumer said.

“The idea that stimulus funds would be used to create jobs overseas is quite troubling,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, wrote in a draft of a letter he said yesterday he would send to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “I urge you to reject any request for stimulus money unless the high-value components, including the wind turbines, are manufactured in the United States.”

U.S. Renewable Energy Group, a private-equity firm based in Washington, and Cielo Wind Power LP, a closely held company in Austin, Texas, said last week they formed a joint venture with China’s Shenyang Power Group to build the 600-megawatt wind farm. The 36,000 acre-project marks the largest Chinese-American investment in U.S. renewable energy, the companies said.

A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd. of China, Shenyang’s largest shareholder, is set to supply turbines for the farm, the companies said. Calls made to A-Power’s offices in Beijing and Shenyang went unanswered today.

“The complaints about Chinese renewable energy equipment being used in the United States are a little odd,” said Dennis Lam, an analyst at DBS Vickers Hong Kong Ltd. “Many of the solar panels used in the States are already made by Chinese companies like Suntech Power.”

Chinese companies are also supplying parts for wind turbines to companies like General Electric Co, Lam said. “These kinds of distinctions about the origin of equipment are increasingly irrelevant.”

‘Furious’ About Aid
Democratic senator Schumer said he was “furious” when he learned that $450 million in U.S. economic recovery aid may be used to help build the wind farm and create as many as 3,000 jobs, mostly in China…

…Democratic senators including Sherrod Brown of Ohio sent a letter to Obama in August saying it would be “extremely difficult” to support a climate bill that doesn’t include a tariff on products from countries such as China that don’t impose limits on global warming pollution….

The rest of the article is at Yahoo!News.

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