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a good chunk of the rest are in the manufacture and transport of heavy pieces of equipment, again something that is hard to do from very far away.

I'm inclined to agree, to a point.  The counterpoint that I'd make if trying to argue the opposite is that Gamesa is now exporting tower components from China to other locations globally, including North America. As these are arguably the heaviest single components, it puts a whole in crude version of the transportation cost argument.

But, as you say, there's also a moving division of labor at work here.  European manufacturers have the much higher value added components in the nacelle, but even here there's some indication that the Chinese are trying to use their, albeit temporary, overwhelming monopoly in rare earths to force production of some components into China with export controls.

On the whole, I'm quite optimistic about the European industry, but I also know that there are relatively simple arguments that can be made to the contrary. It's explaining the details that makes combating these a hard tasks. Serious people don't do details.  When facts get in the way of their economic theory, the facts must be wrong.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2012 at 09:13:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Transportation cost is an advantage, but, for example, even if the transportation cost advantage is sufficient to employ all existing local capacity, if the financial basis for the continued expansion of the windpower installation is not secure enough to justify investment in more capacity, demand in excess of capacity will still spill over into demand for imports.

The transportation cost advantage still has to be leveraged by effective policy that provides long term assurance of the demand for productive capacity over the financed life of the plant.

And the most effective policy for providing that assurance is a well designed feed-in tariff policy, since as installation crosses the hurdle into the range where the merit order effect is reducing the average cost of kWh, that provides added political interests in favor of keeping the policy in place.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 01:58:36 PM EST
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