Wind Energy Gains Corporate Strength with Siemens

Wind energy is a popular choice for large corporations beginning to flex their business muscles in the renewable energy arena. GE Energy did so a few years ago by scooping up Enron’s wind division. Now Siemens Power Generation has acquired Danish wind energy company Bonus Energy, making it the industrial giant’s first energy step into the promising wind power industry.

Bonus Energy is one of the five major suppliers of wind energy systems worldwide with a workforce of 750 and annual posted sales of approximately EUR 300 million (US $378 million). Acquisition closing is planned for early December 2004. “In order to meet the world’s increasing power demand not only in a reliable and cost-effective, but also environmentally compatible manner, we have to utilize all sources of energy. Wind energy will become an important part of this energy mix,” said Klaus Voges, who is the president of Siemens Power Generation. This is not Siemens’ first foray into renewable energy technologies as the company formerly owned a solar photovoltaic division which has since been sold to oil giant Shell. The acquisition of Bonus, however, signifies a significant move toward wind energy and renewable energy technologies. Bonus Energy has installed more than 5,000 turbines with an aggregate capacity above 3 gigawatts (GW) in more than twenty countries. In 1991, the company supplied the world’s first offshore wind farm, and in 2003 it supplied the world’s largest offshore wind farm to date with a capacity of 166 MW, located at Nysted in Denmark. In addition to an assembly plant at the corporate headquarters in Brande, Denmark, Bonus Energy A/S has its own newly built rotor blade production facility in Aalborg, Denmark. These facilities will constitute the core of Siemens’ wind activities worldwide, and the new power generation division “Wind Power” will be based in Brande. Today, the world market volume for wind energy systems is around EUR 6 billion (US $7.57 billion). Annual growth rates of 10 percent are anticipated over the coming years. Focal growth areas will be Europe, the U.S. and Asia. “The market is demanding ever more comprehensive and complex solutions. In the past, we have undertaken significant research and development activities for further advancement of this technology. I believe that becoming the wind power division of Siemens Power Generation will ensure that we will grow into one of the leaders in the global wind energy industry,” said Palle Norgaard, CEO of Bonus Energy A/S. News of the acquisition is more wood in the fire for the Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA). Renewable energy advocates in Australia have been encouraging the government to strive for better renewable energy goals for the country. The current two percent by 2010 Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) is the major mechanism to support the wind industry in Australia, and the goal is low in comparison with global wind energy targets. “Wind energy is increasingly being recognised as a leading clean renewable technology,” said Ian Lloyd-Besson, who is the president of the Australian Wind Energy Association. “The move reflects the positive support that wind energy has been receiving around the world as more and more governments set up favourable frameworks for wind energy markets.”

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