Supply hitch leads to change of supplier -- Vestas steps into Enercon's shoes

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A hitch in the supply of turbines from Enercon for its Klein Bennebeck wind plant at the end of last year led German company Wind Project Development (WPD) to change technology at the last moment. The wind plant was commissioned punctually despite "long and difficult negotiations" with Enercon, reports WPD, which led to the companies agreeing that Enercon would supply only two of the six machines required. The other four were supplied and installed by Vestas Deutschland. The wind station now comprises two E66 1.5 MW units and four V66 1.65 MW machines.

"The market in Germany and abroad boomed last year, which put demands upon us. We did not suffer any production stoppages, our manufacturing was steady and continuous, but still there is a widespread expectation that Enercon can work magic. The wishes of some customers were simply too optimistic. We fulfil all our contracts including penalties where appropriate. But the problem was not so great that I was informed of it," comments Aloys Wobben, owner and head of Enercon.

A speedy technical solution was required before WPD's change of plan could be implemented. Vestas engineers installed an adapter in the already completed Enercon foundations to enable the Vestas turbine towers to be fitted.

"Our investors were delighted about the plan. No-one insisted on the supply of exclusively Enercon turbines," says WPD managing director Klaus Meier. "It was important for our investors to get the wind station as complete as possible in 2000," adds Christoph Gawin, speaking for the company. "Four Vestas turbines and one Enercon machine were finished last year and the second Enercon machine was completed after installation of the nacelle early this year," he adds.

Four months ago, Wobben was quoted in the German wind association magazine, New Energy, saying that Enercon was in need of good engineers and not capital to ensure its continued growth.

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