Manufacturers have confidence, even if government doesn’t


September 2, 2011

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With GE’s announcement that it intends to develop a turbine of up to 15MW, there is further evidence that the manufacturers at least have long term confidence in the future of US wind, even if the investment community doesn’t.

Indeed, when the US Government put subsidies for the offshore Cape Wind scheme on hold, Siemens stepped forward to offer the financial support to keep the project on track. Clearly, then the manufacturers are shaping up for the next battle.

For GE, continuing to invest in technology is critical, as it finds itself under increasing pressure in its domestic market not only from the likes of Siemens and Vestas, but also from the Chinese manufacturers keen to establish a foothold overseas.

GE was also keen to highlight that it will pursue a new type of direct drive technology that reduces a reliance on rare earths. Whilst rare earths are predominantly sourced from China, the move makes sense, at least until demand pushes market price to a point where US and Australian deposits may be mined economically.

With crucial choices on turbine manufacturers currently being made, in particular, for US offshore schemes, it will be interesting to watch the various market protagonists look to demonstrate not only innovation, but track records, where the European businesses will play particularly strongly. Whether this will be enough to overcome a US purchasing mantra that looks to ‘buy American first’, will be demonstrated by the deals that are sure to fall out of the forthcoming US offshore conference in Baltimore.

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