Strategic cost drop within four years -- World market and industry report

The cost of wind electricity will drop to $0.040/kWh by 2004, making it "strongly competitive" with all other power generating sources, predicts BTM Consult Aps in its "World Market Update 1999." This will mean a 15% cost reduction over the next four years from today's $0.047/kWh, according to BTM. The reduction will be achieved through economies of scale from serial production and better logistics, design improvements such as lighter turbines, and better performance, among other things.

The decline in cost should open up markets for the wind industry particularly in Asia, the United States and South America -- and the most cost effective size of wind turbine in 2004 will be 1 MW, BTM Consult says.

By 2004, the global installed capacity of wind power is expected to reach more than 47,500 MW -- up from 1999's 13,932 MW. The 1999 total is largely based on reports from the "supply side" of the wind industry -- reports of shipments from wind power manufacturing facilities. Most growth is forecast for Europe, led by Spain, Germany, Denmark and Italy, with the US expected to do well, too. The annual growth rate according to BTM's 1999 shipments survey was 51%, compared to 66% in 1998. By 2009, the report predicts a total installed wind capacity of 130,000 MW.

In terms of sales, the world's top two leaders held onto their positions last year. Vestas (including its part-owned Spanish subsidiary Gamesa) dominates the industry with a quarter of the entire global market, although BTM lists Vestas and Gamesa separately, allowing NEG Micon into pole position in its top-twelve list with a market share of 21.8%. Vestas Wind Systems comes in second with 18.2%, followed by German Enercon (11.1%), Danish Bonus (8.6%) and American Enron, which manufactures Zond and Tacke machines (8.3%). Spanish Gamesa is sixth (6.1%), ahead of Danish/German Nordex (4.6%), Spanish Made (3.2%), Japan's Mitsubishi (2.3%) and Spain's Desarrollos (1.2%) and Ecotècnia (1.0%). Germany's DeWind completes the list in twelfth place with a 0.6% share.

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