(Bloomberg) -- Europe will have to decide whether it wants to reduce electricity prices or protect its wind-turbine manufacturers from low-cost Chinese competitors, said the boss of TotalEnergies SE.
Chinese companies such as Goldwind Science and Technology Co. Ltd. can offer turbines about 35% cheaper than their European competitors, said TotalEnergies Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne. Such savings could benefit an industry that’s struggling with cost inflation, but potentially undermine the region’s own renewables manufacturing industry.
“There’s a choice to make collectively, to know if we give the priority to electricity prices, or if we give the priority to jobs in Europe,” Pouyanne said at the annual conference of SER, France’s renewable energy lobby group, in Paris on Tuesday.
TotalEnergies took a stake in a Chinese offshore wind project to study the supply chain, Pouyanne said, and learned that turbine-maker Mingyang “has costs that beat all the competition.”
If Europe chooses not to shield its wind industry from competition, Chinese companies could come to dominate the sector just as they have in the manufacture of solar panels, Pouyanne said.
The European Union earlier this month launched an anti-subsidy probe into Chinese electric vehicles, which it said was needed to protect jobs and supply chains at home amid claims China is unfairly flooding the market with cheap vehicles. The bloc is also planning to unveil measures to help its ailing wind sector next month, after supply-chain bottlenecks and higher financing costs have put a brake on projects.
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