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German Offshore Wind Turbine Producers take Advantage of European Growth

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German Wind Turbine Producers

Siemens and RePower ( Suzlon subsidiary) are the biggest beneficiaries of a sharp growth in offshore wind energy in Wind TurbineEurope. These companies have taken the lion’s share of the market for new offshore wind energy installations in places like UK and Europe. Note while the Chinese wind turbine producers have grown much faster relative to others in the past few years, their growth has been mainly in their domestic market where there are a lot of implicit barriers. Now, the biggest Chinese wind turbine producers like Sinovel and Ming Yang are facing financial difficulties as growth saturates in China and their technology is inferior to the European and American wind companies.

While China is trying to boost offshore wind energy growth, the progress has been slow, due to numerous reasons like high costs, logistics challenges and inferior technology of domestic wind companies. On the other hand, Europe is way ahead of other countries in promoting offshore wind energy. This is providing a huge leg up to the European wind turbine makers who are getting a first mover advantage and valuable experience in this new frontier of wind energy.

Basics of Offshore Wind Energy

Offshore Wind Energy has been foretasted from around 3 GW to 75 GW by 2020, as countries in Europe, Asia and North America heavily support this industry.  Onshore wind energy growth on the other hand is expected to  slow down as     38 GW of Wind Capacity were installed in 2010, with Western Markets showing a sharp slowdown. Offshore Wind is seeing  increasing growth because the Government heavily subsidizes and supports the Offshore Wind Energy.

Though the costs of offshore wind parks are much higher today, they will decrease as the installed offshore wind capacity increases from around 3 GW today to around 75 GW, which is being foretasted globally by 2020. Note every industry sees costs declining with large capacity except the mature industries. For example Wind Energy has seen a 10% decline in costs for every 100% increase in installed capacity. Note offshore wind projects offer even more Wind Energy Advantages than normal Land Based Wind Farms. The only problem facing offshore wind power is high costs  as the industry still is on the learning curve. However as companies gain experience and build capacity, the prices will decline, as costs come down and volumes increase. European Wind Companies are leading the pack as almost 80% of the current global capacity has been installed in Northern Europe. The opportunity is so large that South Korea shipbuilders like Samsung, Daewoo and Hyundai  are investing heavily in this area.

List of Offshore Wind Energy Companies

Offshore Wind Energy grew by more than 50% in 2010 and is expected to continue at above 50% growth rates, over the next several years, as the global installed offshore wind capacity multiples by more than 25 times over the next 10 years. The massive investments and Government interest in offshore wind farms has attracted a number of companies to this sector. Top Wind Turbine Companies are leading the pack as it falls right in their domain of expertise as Wind Turbines form almost 50% of the cost of a offshore wind park. Other companies with expertise in related  areas such as building foundations for the giant 5 MW and greater capacity offshore wind turbines and the logistics in transporting them also get involved. Shipbuilders from South Korea and Northrop Gruman are also getting in through JV and M&A. European Wind Companies are leading the pack as almost 80% of the current global capacity has been installed in Northern Europe. Also these companies possess a high level of expertise at building and designing wind turbines.

Here is a list of the major offshore wind turbine companies:

1) Vestas – Vestas the largest Wind Turbine Company in the World has been facing one setback after another. Stiff competition from China, slowdown in Wind Energy Farms in the West and Wind Blade problems have formed a perfect storm for this company. However the company is the leading supplier of Offshore Wind Turbines and recently introduced a 5 MW offshore wind turbine with leading offshore wind Danish developer Dong Energy.

2) Siemens – The largest Green Company in the world, Siemens has a strong presence in the Wind Turbine segment. Along with Vestas, Siemens has supplied more than 80% of the Offshore Wind Turbine to the European offshore wind market till date. Given its huge technological strengths in electrical equipment, power transmission and large project construction, Siemens is looking for a dominant role in the growing offshore wind market .

3) Gamesa (Spain) - Gamesa the Spanish Wind Turbine Producer and Wind Farm Operator has faced the worst year of its history in 2010. Like Vestas and Suzlon, 2010 has been a cruel year for the Wind Industry in the Western Markets and the WTG Players dependent on those markets. Gamesa is leading a massive Spanish Research Effort to develop a colossal 15 MW Turbine meant for the fast growing offshore wind sector. But this is a long term plan with 2020 set as the target for the complete development of this new Turbine. The company has also tied up with Northrop Grumman to target the North American offshore wind market which has massive potential which is zero as of today.

4) Suzlon Energy is the biggest Indian Wind Energy Company by far with 4-5 Gigawatts of WTG Capacity per year. However Suzlon has languished in red ink since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. But things seem to be turning with a slew of orders particularly by Repower. Suzlon is looking to completely buy out its European Wind Turbine producer Repower. REpower Systems has won a contract from Belgian project development company C-Power to supply 48 turbines of the 6M type for the Thornton Bank offshore wind farm. The turbines have a total rated power generating capacity of approximately 295MW. Note Suzlon is also targeting the Indian offshore wind market which needs to install lots of wind energy to meet its RPS target of 15% by 2020.

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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in or call me on +913340606492.

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