Rapoza: First Solar, Now China Wind Power In Washington’s Crosshairs

China wants to become a leader in alternative sources of energy, both as an end user and product developer. But it’s biggest obstacle these days is not its own government, or cheaper competition from coal. It’s Washington DC.

Last year, President Obama slapped tariffs on China solar panel makers deemed to be undercutting their American rivals with cheaper goods. As a result of Washington’s barrier to entry and budget cuts for solar energy in Europe, the world’s biggest Made in China solar companies lost billions.

Trina Solar (TSL) went from nearly $700 million in market cap last year to $400 million currently. The company’s shares have fallen by more than 40 percent. By comparison, Tempe, Arizona based First Solar (FSLR) shares fell by 23 percent over the last 12 months.

With Chinese solar companies now limping through the U.S. market, Washington has set its sights on wind power. Obama denied permits for a privately held China firm to build a wind farm in green-as-can-be Oregon. The majority of Chinese investments in the United States have either been approved or have not required any approval at all.  State oil giant CNOOC (CEO) is in the U.S. oil business. But when it comes to clean energy, something the U.S. proclaims it wants to be a leader in, China is not welcome.


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