Vestas Wind Plans China Push with New Models, Component Content

Vestas Wind Systems A/S., the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, will extend its push into China with plans to use more component contents from Chinese suppliers while also bringing models suited for varying wind conditions to the country.

Vestas will “look at much more tailored service offerings toward different customers with different needs,” Chief Executive Officer Anders Runevad said in an interview in Beijing.

China is “a very attractive and interesting market” where the company sees a shift from focusing on initial capital costs to looking at the lifetime cost of energy, Runevad said, adding that Vestas will seek to use local manufacturers and suppliers for some component content.

Vestas is facing an uphill battle in China where local turbine makers dominate. Foreign manufacturers may see their portion of the market fall to as little as 1 percent from about 5 percent now, Shen Dechang, vice secretary-general of the association, said in April.

To make inroads in the onshore wind market, the Aarhus, Denmark-based company plans to make its V110 and V100 models for low- and medium-wind sites at its Tianjin plant, Runevad said. The company will also closely monitor offshore market developments.

Offshore wind is “in the start-up phase overall from a global market point of view,” Runevad said.

Offshore Wind

While the short-term focus for offshore will be on the North Sea, China will catch up, he said.

China’s wind market is facing a wave of consolidation that may cut the number of turbine producers by two-thirds in the next five years as oversupply pressures increase, according to the Chinese Wind Energy Equipment Association. Supply outstripped demand by 40 percent at the end of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China may install about 20 gigawatts of wind power this year and more in 2015, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.

The 10 largest makers of wind equipment in China last year accounted for 78 percent of a market where capacity grew 16 gigawatts, according to data from the wind energy association. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. was the biggest turbine supplier to China in 2013, followed by Guodian United Power Technology Co. and China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Ltd.

Vestas, which returned to profit in the final three months of last year after nine quarters of losses, was the 11th-largest supplier of wind equipment in China last year and the top foreign supplier, according to the wind energy association. The company in August reported net income of 94 million euros ($120 million) in the three months through June, rebounding from a 62 million euro loss a year earlier.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Wind turbines via Shutterstock

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