European wind market set for Chinese offensive, says bank
The European wind turbine manufacturing industry has "little meat left on its bones" and is heading for a "critical" 12 months in 2013, according to international financier Rabobank.
In its latest quarterly renewables report, the Dutch bank said that 2012 would be "a defining year in the survival" of major players in the market, such as Vestas and Gamesa.
Rabobank states that Chinese turbine makers will make more of an impact in the European market and even predicts that the market domination of Chinese solar panel manufacturing will be repeated in the wind sector.
"The outlook is likely to deteriorate and see European wind turbine manufacturers be swept aside in the same way as European solar PV manufacturers," said the bank.
It added: The price differential between a European and Chinese wind turbine is 30-to-40 per cent, which is larger than the quality differential, in our view. We therefore expect Chinese competition to intensify in the market.
"European wind turbine manufacturers are looking at a tough few years to come."
Pilot power project seeks EU funds
Investors in the world's first floating wind turbine are seeking European Union funding to build five more off the coast of Portugal following the success of initial testing of the device.
The wind power generator, which cost 20 million euros ($25.3 million), floats over deep ocean waters, unlike previous offshore wind farms built in shallow waters and attached to the ocean floor.
EDP and Seattle-based Principle Power, partners in the project, said the pilot produced 1.7 gigawatts of energy per hour (GWh) on average since its blades started turning six months ago, enough to supply power to 1,300 families.
"This was a great success, our calculations have proved right, and the unit performed as predicted. But this was a conservative design. Next time we will be more optimistic," Principle Power Chief Executive Alla Weinstein explained.
The pilot sits six kilometres off the coast of the windy town of Povoa do Varzim, close to Porto in northern Portugal.