Windpower Monthly review of 2019 -- part 2

The next generation of new turbines continues apace in the second half of the year, but financial woes among many of the industry's western OEMs also bite. Here are the top articles from the latter half of 2019.

GE Renewable Energy unveiled the first nacelle of its 12MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine in the second half of 2019
GE Renewable Energy unveiled the first nacelle of its 12MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine in the second half of 2019

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Thank you for supporting Windpower Monthly during 2019. We will be taking a short break over the festive period but normal service will be resumed on 2 January 2020.

Meanwhile, take a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. You can find part 1 here

Everyone at Windpower Monthly hopes you have a restful holidays and best wishes for 2020.

July

 Vestas records more than 4.6GW of new turbine orders in the second quarter of 2019, putting it more than half way to last year's total.

The Q2 tally included the first order for its EnVentus platform and a deal to supply 99 turbines for Saudi Arabia's first utility-scale wind farm, EDF Renewables' and Masdar's 415MW Dumat Al Jandal project.  

 Steve Sawyer, who spearheaded the growth of the wind industry as general secretary at GWEC for ten years between 2007 and 2017, passes away after a short illness. The industry pays tribute.

"Steve had a passion for wind like no one else I have known in my life and has been instrumental in our efforts to globalise the industry and bring wind into the centre of the global energy debate," said Morten Dyrholm, chairman of GWEC. 

 GE Renewable Energy unveils the first nacelle for its 12MW Haliade-X, produced at its facility in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The manufacturer will ship the nacelle to the prototype-testing site at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

August

 We set out on an exclusive visit to Enercon's development centre in Aurich, Germany, where the manufacturer is preparing its E-147 EP5 prototype.

The first units from the platform will have a power rating of 4.3MW, but by 2020 upgrades will enable uprating to 5MW.

 Vestas lays off 44 workers from a Danish hub and nacelle assembly plant due to a lack of European interest in its 4MW platform.

The manufacturer explains it needs to "sustain (its) competitiveness". It is the start of a series of job cuts made by OEMs in Europe during the latter half of the year. 

 According to Windpower Intelligence projections, more than 113GW of offshore wind could be installed by the mid-2020s, up from 23GW today.

It is interesting to see how far the industry has come in such a short amount of time, with the pace of deployment only set to increase.

September

 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announces up to 600 jobs will be cut from its operations in Denmark as it phases out production of direct-drive onshore turbines under its "one segment, one technology" philosophy.

It plans to end blade production at Aalborg by the end of 2019, before stopping production of direct-drive turbines at Brande by the end of 2020.

 Windlab and Eurus Energy team up to develop Africa's first wind-solar-storage hybrid project.

Initial plans for the Meru County Energy Park in central Kenya call for 60-65MW of wind power and 15-20MW of solar PV with a 5MW/10MWh battery.

 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy unveils what it claims is the "world's largest' blade testing rig, under construction in Denmark (below).

It will be initially be used to test the B94 blades for its SG 10.0-193 offshore wind turbine.  

October

 Despite growth in revenues and orders, GE Renewable Energy posts its third straight quarterly loss.

The US OEM said the negative result was "driven by higher losses on legacy contracts, pricing, tariffs and increased R&D investment". 

 Nordex offers additional shares to major stakeholder Acciona in a bid to increase its liquidity and execute its order book.

The Spanish firm says the OEM's financial difficulties are due, in part, to the disruption in the market resulting from Senvion's troubles.

Acciona's increased stake in Nordex sparks a takeover offer for the OEM. 

 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy unveils a solution to prevent leading-edge erosion combining a hardware upgrade with simulation software.

The firm is retrofitting it to hundreds of operating onshore and offshore turbines.

November

 The abrupt downturn in Germany claims another victim as Enercon launches a transformation programme to return it to profitability.

The firm installed just 210MW in the first ten months of 2019, its lowest total in 30 years. Compatriot Nordex, meanwhile, remains in the red, with a net loss of €21 million in Q3 2019

Suzlon's ability to continue as a going concern is in "significant doubt", according to the OEM's auditor in its latest report.

In the report attached to its Q2 financials, auditors Deloitte, Haskins and Sells said the manufacturer "defaulted in making payments" to creditors, with some lenders filing for insolvency proceedings against the manufacturer.

 As the market consolidates, those at the top will only extend their share.

The three leading western turbine OEMs are predicted to increase their combined market share from 47% in 2019 to more than 60% in 2028, according to Wood Mackenzie.

December

Ontario withdraws permitting approval for a 100MW wind project already at an advanced state of construction.

Developer EDPR says it is "wholly perplexed" by the decision by Ontario's Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, that claimed the project would be harmful to a local bat population.

 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy reveals a 6.6MW upgrade to its new onshore platform with an order of 35 units for a Swedish project.

The new turbine model is an evolution of the 5.8MW turbines launched in early 2019.

Hybrid projects, combining wind, solar PV and storage will be the new norm, says ScottishPower CEO Keith Anderson.

"Our strategy will see us deliver hybrid projects as standard. In the next 18 months I believe that hybrids will be the new normal for all renewable energy developers," Anderson says at the COP25 climate talks in Spain.

Wind power nearly subsidy-free, claims Danish government after latest tender.

Subsidies fall to an average price of DKK 15.4/MWh (€2.06/MWh), with the lowest wind price of just DKK 10/MWh (€1.34/MWh).

The demise of Senvion

The biggest wind energy news story of the year — by some margin — was the demise of German turbine OEM Senvion.

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when chief financial officer Manav Sharma, who had acted as the company's chief executive through much of 2018, resigned in late January. Yves Rannou took up the role of CEO at the turn of the new year.

In February, Rannou launched a "transformation programme" to stabilise the company after a series of "operational mistakes". The manufacturer began talks with its lenders, financiers, and suppliers to solidify its financial base. It also wanted to focus on project execution to try to free up some liquidity.

As part of the action plan, in March it was revealed Senvion would withdraw from around 30 markets to simplify its business.

In a letter to employees, Rannou said Senvion had used "incorrect processes", that it was "an overly complex organisation that had spread itself too thinly across new markets", and had "a lack of customer focus".

By April, Senvion had entered dire straits and it was forced to file for self-administration after discussions with its lenders could not reach a "positive conclusion".

Later in the month, the company managed to secure a €100 million loan, giving it some valuable "breathing space".

It was also able to execute some more projects, which aided its solvency. Its first-half installed-capacity total reached 546MW, 89% higher than in the same period in 2018.

While this was still some way behind its competitors, it showed signs the company was recovering from the downturn and, with the right policies in place, it could conceivably drag itself back into a competitive position.

However, by July, it was clear Senvion was seeking new investment to continue operating. Its lenders agreed to extend a loan until the end of August, giving the company time to complete potential takeover deals.

The next stage became clear in August, with the company announcing it had reached the final stages of talks for parts of the business.

But there were no bids to take over the company as a whole, spelling the end of Senvion as a turbine maker, with the first round of redundancies slated to begin in September.

By October, rival turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy had agreed a €200 million deal to acquire selected onshore-wind assets and intellectual property from Senvion. The deal is expected to close by March 2020.

Thank you for your support in 2019. If you wish to partner with Windpower Monthly in 2020, you can find out more details here.

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