Repower's Andreas Nauen on the record

WORLDWIDE: The two biggest stories to come out about Repower over the past two years were the hiring of Siemens Wind Power chief Andreas Nauen as CEO and the completion of the company's long-awaited acquisition by Suzlon. Now the question is how these will change the German manufacturer.

Repower CEO Andreas Nauen

Not much, says Nauen. "We will continue as an independent company but make use of synergies like sourcing and other areas where co-operation makes sense," he adds. A lot of this has already been happening, he says, pointing out the decision to move production of the 2MW turbine to Suzlon's Padubidri plant in India and the merging of Suzlon and Repower's operations in Australia under the Repower brand.

However, branding is one area where they could become further aligned. The Repower brand is actually owned by the Swiss utility of the same name and the licensing deal is set to expire after 2012. Nauen remains tight-lipped on the details of the Repower rebrand yet he was unable to deny rumours it would, in some form, include the Suzlon name.

Market focus

Predictably though, Repower's commercial focus will be on developing market share. In terms of onshore Nauen is looking to do this through the 3MW series and, more specifically, larger towers.

But arguably it is offshore where Repower has its biggest ambition. Speaking to Windpower Monthly at the beginning of the year, Nauen targeted a 15% share of the offshore market by 2015. He still thinks this is achievable, especially as the company already has its 5MW and 6MW offshore turbines in the water.

However, to hit the target, the company will need to make an impact on the UK's 33GW Round 3 plan. Turbine development aside, Repower appears to be behind the competition in this as the likes of Vestas, Siemens and Gamesa are already announcing factory locations.

Although Nauen says Repower was looking at potential locations, he is in no rush to make an announcement and is dismissive of his competitors' strategy. "Just to bank on the premise that there will be plenty of demand for turbines is not enough, we need there to be a large demand for Repower turbines," he adds.

Nauen also believes the best sales argument is that they already have a turbine and it is in use - and each order they get backs this up. "This will work better for us than saying we have a site in harbour X and we will build a factory there," he says. "The customer will decide on reliability and economic grounds, not just because we can show them a hole in the ground."

Chinese withdrawal

Another area where Repower is happy to give ground to its competitors is China. In September, Nauen announced his company was pulling out of the country, citing protectionism as the main reason. His view has, if anything, hardened. He cites Chinese developers' prioritising of cost over quality among the reasons for the move. "We really tried in China and the result was we were third best on every bid," says Nauen.

"We didn't win one project. Customers were looking at costs."

In terms of future markets Repower is interested in, Nauen singled out the Netherlands and eastern Europe, particularly Romania and Poland, and Australia.

He is relatively new to wind power, having spent 13 years with both Siemens power division and its mergers and acquisitions team. It was from the latter that he moved to head up the wind power division in 2008 before leaving to take the helm at Repower last year.

Despite the uncertainties in the market, Nauen - who admits he never set out to sell wind turbines - is optimistic for the future. "I enjoy the wind industry and there are so many things that can still be done compared to the car industry, which has been going for 100 years," he says. "I enjoy wind turbines and think they are beautiful and not just because I sell them but because I believe that."