The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Wind Turbine Manufacturers Say U.S. Market Will Grow in Time

The wind energy market in the U.S. will stay alive with or without an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), say executives from eight of the largest wind turbine manufacturers with a U.S. presence. During a June 6 session focused on large wind turbines during Windpower 2012, executives from Gamesa, GE, Goldwind, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Nordex, Siemens, Suzlon and Vestas expressed that they view the U.S. wind market as a strong one.

The U.S., currently the No. 2 wind market in the world, installed 6,810 MW in 2011. This year is expected to be a record-breaking year for installations, as the expiration of the PTC requires developers to complete projects by year end. All eight executives agreed that 2012 will likely see anywhere from 9 to 12 GW of wind power installations.

Beyond 2012, the market is likely to slow, but the panelists said that won’t keep their companies from staying in the U.S. 

The wind energy market could be down 80 percent next year, said Duncan Koerbel, interim CEO of Suzlon. “But Suzlon is in this for the longest of the long hauls. If you’re going to be in wind, you have to be in North America.”

Goldwind, whose business is focused mainly in China, has increased its market share in the U.S. in recent years. “We’re looking to the U.S. as the place to expand first because it’s one of the premier competitive markets,” said Tim Rosenzweig, CEO of Goldwind. 

Harm Toren, vice president and chief service officer of Mitsubishi Power Systems, said about 90 percent of Mitsubishi’s wind turbines are installed in the U.S., but expressed concern regarding the unpredictable nature of the market due to policy uncertainty. “The stop-start nature of the U.S. regulations really prohibits the long-term nature of R&D and planning for sales. If we have a repeat of 2004, it will be difficult for us to deliver due to the suppliers and supply chain not being able to catch up.”

Borja Negro, CEO of Spanish company Gamesa, said the supply chain in the U.S. has been built steadily over the last decade, and a lack of policy certainly could hinder continued growth. “Uncertainty doesn’t just affect employment; it affects supply chain.”

A one-year extension of the PTC is likely to occur after the November presidential election, said Christian Venderby, chief operating officer of Vestas. However, the panel executives expressed concern that a one-year extension would not be helpful to the growth of the industry, since most wind projects take 18 to 24 months to complete from start to finish.

“This every 12-month hopscotch doesn’t do anything for long-term strategy. We’ve got to have a playing field that brings some stability,” Koerbel said.

The panelists suggested two policy approaches that would encourage the continued expansion of the wind energy industry: a national energy policy, or a 2-year extension of the PTC.

“Give us a target; set a policy,” Venderby said. “If it expires in three to five years, we can figure out how to compete.”

The panelists agreed that cheap natural gas is now the biggest competition to wind power. However, gas prices will not stay around $2 forever, panelists said, and wind energy prices will only continue to fall.

“We’re all investing in new products and innovations to drive down the cost of energy and make it more in parity with other fuels,” said Michael Revak, vice president of technical sales and proposals for Siemens.

Some technology advancement the panelists mentioned their companies are exploring include larger rotors, higher towers, improved batteries, the use of compressed air, as well as advancements in areas like forecasting, interconnection and storage. Negro said developments such as these will help Gamesa meet its target to reduce the cost of wind energy by 30 percent by 2015.

“There is also lot of room for reduction of the cost of energy through O&M,” Negro said. 

Keith Longtin, general manager of the wind product line at GE, said the company’s focus has not been on taller towers and bigger rotors lately, but on O&M. “Being able to minimize losses has a huge impact; being able to uprate the machine without adding costs.”

Toren of Mitsubishi echoed a similar message. “We need to start with what we have already. Maintain the units.”

Revak said Siemens has been able to lower the cost of its turbines by switching from a gearbox platform to direct drive. “We view the direct drive product as the product going forward.”

While concern over the short-term future of the U.S. wind industry was a common theme among the panelists, each company said they would not pull out even if Congress abandoned all renewable energy subsidies.

“We have a commitment to the market here,” Venderby said.

Image: Watch face via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now


wind energy

Interior Plans November Auction for Offshore New Jersey Wind Energy Rights

Wayne Barber U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

Sage Grouse Removed as Threat to Biggest Wind Farm in U.S.

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg Billionaire Phil Anschutz’s plans to build a $5 billion wind farm in southeast Wyoming will no longer be stymied by t...

PRESS RELEASES Welcomes Jennifer Delony as Associate Editor

PennWell Corporation is pleased to announce that Jennifer Delony has joined the company...

CleanTX Releases New White Paper on the Future of Texas Solar in Texas

We love this new White Paper from our clean energy partners CleanTX

Customized Energy Solutions Executes Agreement with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) for Important Energy Storage Study

Customized Energy Solutions (CES) has entered into agreements with Massachusetts Clean ...

New Officers and Board Members Announced by IREC

A new slate of officers was elected by IREC's board of directors at its recent annual m...


Hawaii: World’s First Hydrogen Economy?

Can Hawaii become the world’s first renewable energy/hydrogen economy? Hawaii’s small size, isolation ...
energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Northeast States Create Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northeast states have worked together for several decades to address air quality issues and, more recently, climate c...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...


Former associate editor for Power Engineering magazine where I used to EPA's regulations for the power industry in detail. For renewables, I write about solar and wind-related policies and technologies. I'm a native of Tulsa, Okla. with a bac...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Doing Business in Europe – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...

JuiceBox Energy Certified Installer Class

JuiceBox Energy is rapidly building out its national certified installer...

Wind Operator Congress Europe

The UK’s only business-focused O&M event for the European wind...


Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now