Market continues downward spiral

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Wind power development for the first six months of the year in Germany was down 30% on the same period in 2004 and more than 50% down on the 2003 period. Just 510 MW was installed in the six months up to the end of June 2005, compared to 729 MW and 835 MW in the same period for 2004 and 2003, respectively, says the federal wind energy association Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE). The market is smaller than it has been for five years (table).

The decline is largely because suitable sites for wind power development are getting harder to find while permitting procedures are more challenging. For the year as a whole, new capacity in 2005 is forecast to be down 17-26% on 2004 at 1500-1700 MW compared with 2037 MW last year, BWE adds. Two wind turbine companies -- Germany's Enercon and Denmark's Vestas -- have supplied 70% of the German market so far this year. Enercon has a 46% share for 2005 and Vestas 25%.

Germany's domestic manufacturers are increasing their exports as the home market shrinks. Around 59% of production by the country's turbine manufacturers and component suppliers was for the overseas market in 2004, with total German wind industry sales accounting for 50% of the EUR 6.3 billion worldwide market, according to Verband Deutscher Maschinen und Anlagenbau (VDMA), the German engineering association. The export trend is expected to continue, with the United States seen as a key future market. "At least 2000 MW will be installed in the US this year compared with just 390 MW last year," says VDMA's Thorsten Herdan. Germany's cumulative installed capacity at the end of June 2005 stood at 17,132 MW from 16,826 turbines.

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