After three years of losses, shutdowns and lay-offs, European wind turbine manufacturing giants such as Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, Germany’s Nordex, and Gamesa appear set for declaring pre-tax profits. This has led to much anticipation and investors are now driving up their share prices. Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that shares in these corporations have risen by approximately 220% this year. Since 2010, an air of doom and gloom had been engulfing the wind turbine manufacturing industry, with thousands of layoffs and some plant closures, with others put in mothballs pending better times. Subsidy cuts in Europe had hit these companies hard and penalised any overcapacity. But even in those dark times, companies were looking to the future and a return to good business, and so concentrated on improving efficiency and cost-cutting.
Overall there has been a 31% recovery in clean energy shares in 2013 The past few years have been all about building efficiency and cutting costs for a comeback—and that comeback has begun, with a 31% recovery in clean energy shares for 2013. Vestas is reported to have recovered from a 14-year low and wind power analysts predict over 100 million euros in operating profits this year. Nordex has recovered 180% after bottoming out at a seven-year low in 2012 and is expected to record a net profit of 10 million euros. As for Gamesa, they have more than tripled so far this year, with last year being its worst ever, and analysts are predicting 41 million euros in profits.
2012 was a good year for renewable energy installations, and a new report from Bloomberg revealed that a total of 48.4 GW of new capacity was commissioned.
However a lot of the 2012 installation boom can be attributed to beating the deadline on an expiring US tax credit subsidy and not on sustainable growth. The four largest Chinese turbine manufacturers were pushed to the bottom of the Top 10 rankings, due to a national drop in capacity and the fact that Chinese countries do virtually all of their business within their home country. The top 10 suppliers contributed 33.5 GW of 2012′s total global commissioned capacity, equalling 70%. Those 10 include:
- GE (US) – 11.8%
- Vestas (Denmark) – 11.8%
- Siemens (Denmark) – 11.0%
- Enercon (Germany) – 7.2%
- Suzlon/REpower (India) – 6.6%
- Gamesa (Spain) – 6.4%
- Goldwind (China) – 6.0%
- Guodian United Power (China) – 3.5%
- Sinovel (China) – 2.7%
- Sewind (China) – 2.3%
Gamesa dropped to No. 6, probably reflecting the moratorium on development in Spain, its home market.
Finally it is worth noting that direct-drive wind turbines, which transfer energy from rotor to generator without the use of a gearbox, are growing in popularity as at least 14 companies across the globe offer a direct-drive solution. Currently, direct-drive turbines represent less than one fifth of the market.