Offshore 2013, which is organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), will take place between 19 and 21 November 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany. This event will provide the latest information, predict trends, showcase new innovations and connect key industry and political people. This will be the meeting place to get up to date about the current state of the offshore market and meet with the major players. Currently, the market is dominated by just a few players, but other companies such as Gamesa and Samsung are also becoming involved.
On 21 October Gamesa inaugurated
its first offshore G128-5.0MW prototype in Spain at the Arinaga quay in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, and I was privileged to be able to attend this event and see this new impressive turbine at first hand. I also had the opportunity to meet Gamesa’s Executive Chairman, Ignacio Martín, who has been in charge of the company since May 2012. When he became Chairman Gamesa was not in a good financial position. In October 2012 the company released its 2013–2015 Business Plan, which was designed to enable it to weather the industry downturn, adapt its corporate structure to the prevailing climate, and emerge a stronger company. Furthermore, the plan aimed to restore and maintain profitability, strengthen the balance sheet (reduce debt), focus on key markets and growth businesses, and offer competitive technological solutions. Only a year later Gamesa has already returned to profitability with earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 3 to 5%.
Reflecting back on that period, Mr Martín said it was a difficult time for Gamesa. The demand in Europe for onshore turbines was lower due to political uncertainty in some European countries and subsidies being put on hold in Spain (with the result that 100% of the company’s revenue is currently outside Spain). Meanwhile, business has been stronger for the company in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and China.
Therefore, one of the key markets for Gamesa’s focus is the European offshore market. Now that the first prototype of the 5MW is installed, the company will be working on a demonstration project somewhere in Europe. It has not been decided yet where it will be built but the company is considering locations in the UK, Belgium and Germany. It is unlikely that the demonstration project will be built in Gamesa’s home market of Spain, due to the low(er) wind resources and lack of tax incentives in the country. The site will probably be chosen in spring 2014. Serial production of the G128-5.0MW offshore is planned for 2014.
At present, the size of the offshore market is still unknown due to the uncertainty of policies in countries such as the UK and Germany. However, Mr Martín expects that the European offshore market will be around 4,000MW by 2017 and in the years to follow. To be ready for that market Gamesa will be working on a 7 to 8MW turbine. It will take approximately three years to develop the prototype. This new turbine will be based on the technology and experience Gamesa gathers with the 5MW turbine. Mr Martín also predicts that by time only three to four players will be active on the offshore market. He expects that Gamesa will be one of them and he thinks that the company’s market share will be around 20 to 25%.
On page 6 you will find more detailed information about the new turbine from Gamesa and a more comprehensive review of my trip to Spain for this inauguration.