North American Windpower

China's rare-earth domination keeps wind industry on its toes

Wind turbine manufacturers are scrambling to find alternatives to a key element used in direct-drive permanent magnet generators (PMGs), thanks to skyrocketing prices and diminishing supplies of crucial rare earths. China currently provides 94% of the world's rare earths, including neodymium and dysprosium, which are used in the magnets for direct-drive wind turbine motors. However, the Chinese government has put new restrictions on rare-earth mining that have resulted in lower supply levels, according to a report from research firm Roskill Information Services (RIS).