Last week's $1.5 billion joint partnership between Cielo Wind and China-based Shenyang Power Group to develop a 600 MW wind farm project in west Texas has come under scrutiny from Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who criticized the use of federal stimulus money to be used by a foreign entity.
Schumer called on the Obama administration to reject a request for federal economic stimulus money as part of a $1.5 billion west Texas wind energy project, saying it will generate Chinese, not American, jobs – a claim strongly disputed by the project's developer.
The joint venture of Cielo Wind and China's Shenyang Power Group and private equity firm U.S. Renewable Energy Group would be the largest renewable energy investment made by China in the U.S.
But Schumer says the project may also be seeking 30% in funding from economic stimulus grants from the Department of Energy – funds he says would be used to buy turbines and other components made in a Chinese plant.
Walt Hornaday, president of Cielo Wind Power, strongly disputed the assertions that it the project would not benefit the U.S. participants.
‘The project will greatly benefit the rural communities in Texas where the wind farm will be located,’ says Hornaday in a statement. ‘Any characterization of this planned project as anything other than an economic development lifeline to the wind industry during tough economic times is just inaccurate.’
While the wind turbines will be made in China, Hornaday explains that U.S. engineers, contractors and suppliers, as well as Cielo employees in Texas, New Mexico and New York, will also benefit.
For his part, Hornaday personally invited Schumer to tour one of its wind farm projects.