German market faces difficult times and competition for offshore wind OEMs becomes fiercer
Husum Wind 2019 was organised from 10 to 13 September 2019. Trade visitors used the four days of the fair to find out about technical innovations and products from around 600 exhibitors from 25 countries. Like the previous edition, the focus of the fair was on the German-speaking core market and despite the current market situation in Germany the visitor numbers were stable compared with 2017 with up to 18,000 trade visitors visiting this year’s show.
The potential for new products and business models was also reflected in the number of participants in the Young Innovative Businesses Forum this year. With 24 participating start-ups, the platform was one of the top 10 JiV forums in Germany this year. Daniel Günther, the Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state, opened the trade fair, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, with a wake-up call. The state government of Schleswig-Holstein and the industry associations sent a clear signal to the federal government in Berlin to get the wind industry back on track.
One of the German companies affected by the home market is Senvion, which went bankrupt earlier this year. Just a week after Husum Wind, Senvion announced that it had entered into an exclusivity agreement with Siemens Gamesa to pursue negotiations for the sale of selected services and onshore assets in Europe. At the time of writing this note the parties had not yet reached a final agreement. For the remaining business areas (like offshore), Senvion continues to explore further options and negotiations with investors.
In the last couple of years, Senvion was not a big player (anymore) in the offshore market, but the bankruptcy of the company means that there is now one competitor less in the market. When the (European) offshore market was still developing, Senvion pioneered with its 5MW wind turbine which was later upgraded to a 6MW version. But after that the product development of new (bigger) offshore turbines stayed behind the competition.
In the last couple of years the (European) offshore market has been dominated by MHI Vestas and Siemens Gamesa. By acquiring Alstom in 2015, GE acquired access to offshore technology as well as the Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine. In March 2018, GE unveiled its plan to develop the Haliade-X, a 12MW offshore wind turbine. Since then, this turbine has been in development and the prototype has just been installed in the Netherlands, with blade testing ongoing in the UK.
MHI Vestas’s biggest turbine available right now is 9.5MW and its 10MW turbine will be ready for installation from 2021 onward. Siemens Gamesa currently delivers an 8MW turbine of which, according to the company, over 1,000 units will be produced at the beginning of 2020. For the future, Siemens Gamesa is also working on a 10MW turbine for which serial production is planned for 2022.
In September, Ørsted selected GE as the preferred turbine supplier for two of its US offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 1,220MW, with expected commissioning in 2022 and 2024. Further, at the beginning of October, Dogger Bank Wind Farms also selected GE as its preferred turbine supplier. The Dogger Bank projects located in the North Sea, approximately 130 kilometres from the UK’s Yorkshire coast, will have a combined capacity of up to 3.6GW. It looks likeGE is entering the offshore market for large turbines just in time and the competition especially in Europe and North America has become fiercer.
So far I have not mentioned Chinese companies, which obviously dominate their home market and might enter the world market as well. But if you want to learn more about the Chinese players, I encourage you to read Feng Zhao’s View from Inside
on page 29.