Germany

Germany

Powerful alliance sets sights offshore

An alliance between the Dutch arm of German engineering giant Siemens and the German manufacturer of Tacke wind turbines, Enron Wind Holding GmbH, suggests that the prospect of lucrative offshore and nearshore contracts in Dutch waters is leading to increasing international interest in the Netherlands' wind market.

A newly announced alliance between the Dutch arm of German engineering giant Siemens and the German manufacturer of Tacke wind turbines, Enron Wind Holding GmbH, suggests that the prospect of lucrative offshore and nearshore contracts in Dutch waters is leading to increasing international interest in the Netherlands' wind market. The aim of the alliance is "to develop, construct and operate wind generation facilities in the Netherlands," according to Siemens Nederland NV. Enron GmbH is a German affiliate of Enron Wind Power of Texas.

The initiative for the new alliance came from Siemens Nederland, says the company's Koos Lichtendonk. Initially Siemens had considered the possibility of co-operating with a number of different turbine manufacturers, "but then we decided to choose one in order to optimise the synergy potential of both companies," he explains. "We chose Tacke because we liked what they had to offer: variable speed, pitch control, proven technology and, particularly, the size of the machines."

Siemens Nederland first ventured into the modern wind power market last year with its work on a 13.5 MW wind farm at Lelystad, owned by Dutch utility NUON and consisting of WindMaster turbines. But the company has been active in the Dutch power market for 120 years. "We know the Dutch market and most of the future wind projects will be offshore or nearshore -- so it's very obvious that the larger machines will score there," says Lichtendonk. "Tacke is already developing the next stage in turbine size, 2.5 MW to 3 MW in the near future."

Finn Hansen, managing director of Tacke, adds: "The idea came up in early 1998. Siemens Nederland knew about us and was interested in working with us on some projects coming up in Holland. A letter of intent was signed last spring." Hansen does not see Siemens starting to build Tacke turbines to meet future demand in the Netherlands. Siemens will continue to supply components like generators and cables, but Tacke production facilities, possibly expanded, will manufacture the plant. "If Enron starts something, they do it heart and soul," he says.

Hansen does not rule out the possibility that Enron's American made Zond turbines could be used if they were more suitable than Tacke technology for a particular project. But the 1.5 MW Tacke machine is best for offshore projects, he adds. In practical terms the deal means that Siemens Nederland and Tacke will be submitting joint tenders for projects in the Netherlands. The co-operation deal could, in future, be extended to cover Germany, says Hansen. But Enron Wind Holding could also decide to co-operate with another company or utility in Germany. "Nothing is cooking here yet though."

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