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Germany

Germany

TURBINE PRICE WAR LOOMS

A 10% price cut on Enercon's wind turbines for domestic customers has put the company on a highly competitive footing on its home market, claims the German company's owner. His competitors are bitterly warning of a ruinous price war. Enercon is also breaking into the small turbine market and projects in the pipeline include supply of an E30 220 kW in February for a desalination plant on Tenerife.

A price cut of 10% on its wind turbines for domestic customers has put Enercon on a highly competitive footing on its home market, claims the German company's owner, Aloys Wobben. His competitors, though, are bitterly warning of a ruinous price war.

The price cut is made possible for two reasons, says Wobben. First, the company now has adequate financial reserves and second, series production of the E40 has reduced manufacturing costs. "We aim to achieve higher quality and reduce the price of the E40 before starting in earnest on the new 1.5 MW machine," says Wobben. A total of 442 E40 units were running in mid September and the rate of manufacture will reach around 400 units in 1996, he says.

Exports are also beginning to pick up. The first three E40 machines have left Enercon's Indian factory and the company has orders from Sweden, Spain and Greece. "However, financing is a problem," acknowledges Wobben: "We are working on this problem now."

The US market and the Enercon partnership with major power station builder Westinghouse has not fulfilled its promise yet. The market in America is sluggish, says Wobben, and a legal dispute over wind turbine patents, initiated by US firm Kenetech (Windpower Monthly, March 1995), is preventing Enercon from exporting machines to the US. Wobben points out, however, that until the US market picks up, Enercon is happy to bide its time in the belief that Kenetech has bitten off more than it can chew.

Enercon is also breaking into the small turbine market. In December it will install its first E12 30 kW machine at the site of its factory in Aurich, Germany. This is "the type of machine a small farmer in Minnesota would like," says Wobben. Continuing to pursue the market for small machines, the 30 kW development may be followed later by a 10 kW turbine.

Other Enercon projects in the pipeline include supply of an E30 220 kW in February for a desalination plant on the Spanish island of Tenerife. And Enercon's E66 1.5 MW "laboratory machine " will be installed at the Aurich headquarters in December, to be personally owned by Wobben: "That gives me the freedom to do what I like with the machine without long explanations," he says.

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