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Published: 05 July 2012 05 July 2012

Manufacturing the Future Today

This year’s WINDPOWER 2012 Conference & Exhibition was organised in Atlanta, GA, USA. Although there are not any wind farms in that part of the USA there are now over 90 manufacturing plants serving the industry in the Southeast, and so the location was well-suited to this year's theme: Manufacturing the Future Today.

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Compared to the last couple of years, this year’s show attracted fewer visitors. Nevertheless, 11,000 participants and 920 exhibiting companies were present at the event. This lower number was probably caused mainly by the looming expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the general economic situation in the USA. Many people at the show expressed their concerns that a PTC extension is needed now to get this industry going and growing again.

When, in 2004, the PTC was not extended the annual number of megawatts of wind energy installed dropped by 77%. Over the last couple of months several companies have announced that they are putting investments in new manufacturing facilities on hold for as long as this period of uncertainty continues. Many have also said that, if the PTC is allowed to expire, some other facilities will be closed.

Another issue for the industry is the low price of natural gas in the USA at the moment, which makes wind energy less competitive. It is clear that the cost of wind energy needs to come down and the best way to achieve this is probably through innovation. The problem with this is that manufacturers' margins are now lower than they have been and this, combined with the current uncertainty in the market, means that there is less money available to make the necessary investments. In 2012 a considerable number of new turbines will be installed, but the prospects for 2013 and even 2014 are not that good.

It is clear that, in the immediate future, the extension of the PTC is a fundamental necessity for the stability of the industry in the USA. Policy uncertainty does not provide the industry with the confidence needed to invest in workers, factories or new technology. However, if the currently proposed PTC phase-out becomes part of the final language of the tax credit extension legislation, we would hope that the industry will realise the need to develop and commercialise new technologies which can further reduce the cost of wind energy and so eliminate the need for a PTC.

Husum Daily
From 18 to 22 September the Husum WindEnergy event is happening again in the German capital of wind energy. Around 36,000 visitors from 90 different countries are expected and around 1,200 companies will show their products and services. In cooperation with Messe Husum, Windtech International is going to produce the only official daily show publication. In total five issues will be produced and handed out to all visitors and exhibitors. To be part of this, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for advertising opportunities and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for editorial contributions. Make sure you are part of this outstanding marketing opportunity to reach your (potential) clients. I hope to see you all at Husum WindEnergy.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
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