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

Wind Energy Joint Ventures: A Sign of the Times?

Henry Ford was, of course, a man who knew a few things about working together. He pioneered cooperation with Giovanni Agnelli of Fiat in 1912, when the Ford Motor Company was only nine years old. This enabled Ford to establish a foothold in the European markets and challenge other early manufacturers.

One wonders what Ford would have made of today’s wind industry, and in particular, its supporting manufacturing processes.

The joint venture announced last week between Areva and Gamesa for offshore turbines would perhaps have given him plenty to think about.

In the face of stiff competition from Vestas and Siemens, the collaboration makes a lot of sense.  Whilst Areva has been successful in supplying turbines to many offshore wind projects — including Alpha Ventus, Global Tech 1 and Borkum West, as well as a number of French developments — Gamesa lags far behind, having only recently debuted its 5-MW offshore turbine.

Interestingly, this 5-MW machine will apparently not form part of the deal, but will be destined for onshore use instead. Both firms, however, will work on a new 5-MW machine, and an 8-MW unit.

The joint venture will provide some breathing space to both manufacturers struggling to balance the ever-shifting sands of political support and policy for offshore wind, and is a way of reducing the competition and sharing efficiencies.

This, as many will remember, is not the first joint venture that the offshore wind industry has seen — Mitsubishi and Vestas entered into a similar agreement back in September.

It is then, perhaps, a sign of the times. The wind industry has, despite the continued fluctuation in the market, managed to avoid large amounts of consolidation — unlike other parts of the renewable energy industry, such as solar panel manufacturers.

But for the smaller players, there is strength in unity. Auto manufacturers have suffered a similar fate as their industry has gone through its own tumultuous times.  Existing partnerships such as Renault-Nissan and Fiat-Chrysler — long standing relationships borne out of the need for cost sharing — have been replaced by new joint-ventures between existing European and US brands and new Chinese firms as the former look to open up a new market. 

We’ve said before that the wind industry can learn a lot from a sector that is essentially its polar opposite.  For the wind sector, the true test will be in how these ventures last, and whether they deliver what is truly hoped for.

If differing businesses with different cultures, albeit ones operating in the same industry, aren’t able to maintain synergies and make things work culturally as well as commercially, success, as Ford noted, will ultimately remain a stranger.

This article was originally published in A Word About Wind and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Wind turbine via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.
Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...
I am the founder of Tamarindo Communications and the publisher of A Word About Wind. Tamarindo Communications enables businesses and individuals to build reputations, encourage greater customer loyalty and ultimately, increase the value of thei...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

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

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

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

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

National Geothermal Summit 2015

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is pleased to be holding its fif...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

Harnessing the #ElonEffect: Deconstructing the PR Success of Tesla’...

As most of the world has heard by now, Tesla and its co-founder, Elon Mu...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS