A significant portion of Maxwell’s wind energy related sales over the past couple of years, have gone into China where renewable energy has been a focus of government policy and funding. While we’re seeing slower sales there, due in part to governments implementation of a more orderly, permitting and siting process, wind order flow continues.
Many of you have asked about Maxwell’s exposure to China’s economy. Well to better understand the situation there, we engaged a major global consulting firm with a significant presence in China to analyze the wind, the bus, and several other market opportunities and assess the direction of government policies.
The consultant’s report based on dozens of interviews with industry and government sources, reinforces our belief that China’s ever-growing appetite for electrical energy along with concerns about urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power plants will drive significant expansion of wind energy capacity there.
Our contacts with wind customer at the recent wind energy trade show Beijing, indicate that wind projects likely will return to a more normal growth pace by mid-2012. The size of Maxwell’s opportunity also is growing beyond blade pitch systems, with a Chinese government mandate that new turbines must incorporate a feature called low voltage ride through. This addresses utility grid connectivity problems caused by the variability of energy output from wind farms.A number of leading turbine OEMs in China and Europe are now using ultracapacitors to support this ride-through function. In addition, China’s leading wind turban OEMs are now targeting export markets as evidence by a recent contract win to install a large wind farm here in the United States. Energy storage system for recuperative breaking and torque-assist and fuel efficient, low emission, hybrid electric transit buses, and zero-emission electric rail vehicles drove our highest ever sales for public transit vehicles in Q3 of 2011.