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Senvion 'all in' on new 4.2MW in North America

UNITED STATES: Senvion's North American chief said the business unit is going "all in" on its new 4.2MW turbine in a bid to get ahead of the curve.

Senvion's North America CEO Lance Marram is confident the new 4.2MW platform can compete in the US
Senvion's North America CEO Lance Marram is confident the new 4.2MW platform can compete in the US

The German manufacturer unveiled its new 4.2M140 and 4.2M148 turbines at the AWEA Windpower 2018 event in Chicago in May.

Senvion said its new models were a "direct evolution" of its 3MW platform, which grew from 3.2MW to 3.7MW over a number of upgrades.

"It's a reasonable jump but we've been doing large MW turbines for a while [in Europe]," said Lance Marram, CEO of Senvion’s North America business unit, following the launch.

Senvion’s market share in the US has been negligible in the past few years, in comparison to the market leaders.

Cumulatively, the firm has installed a little over 1.2GW, according to AWEA, while Vestas, GE, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), make up almost 80% of the 90GW US fleet.

To combat this, Marram is predicting where the market will be at the start of the next decade and to leapfrog its competitors.

Marram said the firm is going to "jump ahead a little bit" on the technological front. "I think the US is just going to evolve a little bit behind Europe, in the sense of bigger turbines, but it is going to speed up.

"I originally thought we had to be careful because [I thought] this could only be a northeast [US] product and maybe we wouldn’t capture much interest. The reality is I think it really covers most of the US. This is what I am excited about.

"The difference [to our competitors] is that we’re going all in on this product. I’m trying to jump forward on the curve because I can see it happening," Marram said.

The US’s main incentive for onshore wind, the production tax credit (PTC), expires in 2020. By then the industry expects to be able to compete on a market-only basis.

Larger capacity turbines will be crucial to ensuring that US onshore wind is cost-competitive with other generating sources.

However, the expiry of the PTC is forecast to cause a steep fall in the rate of new installations, at least in the short term, from 7GW last year to possibly half that from 2021.

"It’s going to get more competitive post-2020, so let’s double down on the larger nameplate capacity and be the one-stop-shop for this one product," said Marram.

"We’ll continue to improve the supply chain, we’ll continue to do the cost outs, and maximise the AEP by evolving from this platform instead of looking for all these different types and trying to fit everything. Customise on one platform.

"It will be Senvion’s only available platform in the US, obviously until the next iteration.

"It’s competitive today so we don’t see the need [to offer 3MWs] and I would like to build more volume of this and then continue to drive down costs and improve the production," he said.

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