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AWEA 2016: Goldwind and Senvion target US top-tier

UNITED STATES: Turbine manufacturers Goldwind and Senvion are aiming to become top-tier manufacturers in the US, said company executives during AWEA Windpower 2016.

Senvion unveiled its 3.4M140 turbine, adapted for the US market, on day one of Windpower 2016
Senvion unveiled its 3.4M140 turbine, adapted for the US market, on day one of Windpower 2016

Chinese heavyweight Goldwind hopes to participate in hundreds of megawatts of wind development a year in the US for the next several years, said Goldwind Americas CEO David Halligan.

The company can provide technology, financing and, ultimately, own projects, he said.

In fact, Goldwind hopes to enter the top tier of original equipment manufacturers in the US, currently dominated by GE, Siemens and Vestas. "I think the time is now – we have the technology and the momentum," he said.

Meanwhile, Senvion is aiming to break into the top five turbine providers in the US wind industry by targeting a 5-10% market share, said its North American CEO Helmut Herold at AWEA Windpower 2016.

The German turbine manufacturer currently ranks ninth in the US, with 1.2GW of installed capacity.

Senvion launched its 3.4M140 machine into the US during AWEA's Windpower 2016 event, 23-26 May. The turbine has a 25-year design life and is intended for areas with low wind speeds and restrictions on sound output. It was first launched in Europe in September 2015.

"We have made a very important step today," says Herold. The longer design life will help allow projects to pencil out economically in the highly competitive US market, he added.

"One of the challenges in the US market is how to address the phase out of the PTC. One answer is extending the operating life of the turbine."

Few expect the market's top three turbine manufacturers — GE, Seimens and Vestas — to lose their dominant positions.

But industry observers expect competition to ramp up as other turbine makers, including new entrants from China, try to tap into what Senvion expects will be a 70GW-plus market over the next decade.

"I have a lot of respect for the big three, but the key here is agility," said Bernhard Telgmann, Senvion's executive vice-president for product and technology. With private equity firm Centrebridge Partners now in charge, he says, Senvion is well positioned.

"We used to have slow decision-making structure. Now we are seeing decisions made overnight. It creates a momentum from the top," added Telgmann.

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