USW, China Power Players Ink Wind-Energy Parts Deal

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In what is being hailed as a major victory for U.S. manufacturing, two of China’s leading power generation companies have agreed to use U.S.-made components to build a $1.5-billion wind farm in Texas after two U.S. senators and several major unions protested that the original project plan would have sent 2,000 jobs overseas.

The United Steelworkers (USW) announced it has cut the landmark deal with A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd, and Shenyang Power Group (SPG), two of China’s leading alternative energy companies. The Chinese companies agreed to source 50,000 tons of steel from U.S. producers as well as “ work together on all aspects of the companies’ U.S. market strategies—including manufacturing, assembly, component sourcing, distribution and wind energy project development,” according to the AFL-CIO blog site.

The two Chinese power generation giants are involved in a project to build a 615 MW Texas wind farm. The deal with the USW was reached after public outrage that only 30 U.S. jobs would be generated from the Texas project, while 2000 jobs would go to workers in China. Two U.S. senators, Charles Schumer of New York and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, had threatened to block federal stimulus funds for the project if a significant portion of the work did not go to U.S. parts manufacturers and steel producers.

“We will work with A-Power and SPG to create long-term, good-paying, green American jobs,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard, after the deal was reached. “The USW is committed to building a strong domestic supply chain that will be key to the future of America’s global renewable energy leadership.”

“Through our partnership with the U.S. Renewable Energy Group, we had the unique opportunity to meet President Gerard and understand his vision for win-win relationships between manufacturers and workers,” said Mr. Jinxiang Lu, Shenyang Power Group chairman and CEO.  “We quickly discovered that our company’s high standards at every level of the clean energy technology supply chain were the same as those of the USW.  A-Power, SPG and USW know that the success of our organizations is dependent on developing the world’s most sophisticated and skilled workforce.”

“It is an honor to team up with the Steelworkers for this historic partnership that will result in hundreds of American jobs and help create a clean energy future for the U.S.” said Cappy McGarr, US-REG Managing Partner. “We look forward to working closely with the USW on further projects to help expand wind power and renewable energy in the U.S.”

“Our cooperation with USW will benefit the development of our projects, including the planning of a wind turbine assembly plant in Nevada and the ongoing development of the supply chain for the expected delivery of wind turbines to the 615MW wind farm under development in Texas,” said John S. Lin, Chief Operating Officer of A-Power.

“This is obviously the first cooperative agreement between the USW and a company headquartered in China, and it is appropriate that we recognize the expertise and insight of Cappy McGarr and Ed Cunningham of the U.S. Renewable Energy Group who brought together this landmark cooperation,” said Gerard.

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