International service for wind turbines is in a transformational phase
Words: Matthias Brandt, Board Director, Deutsche Windtechnik
The global wind energy market has always been subject to constant change, but it has rarely changed as rapidly as it is right now. Political realities are evolving, and they are forcing the market to produce results based on one clear objective: absolute cost reduction.
Increasing cost pressure is forcing market participants to take action
In 2025, the first German offshore wind farms will be connected to the grid without the benefit of any subsidies whatsoever.
In Spain, the remuneration of 4.3 cents for onshore wind is shaking up everything that was considered to be reliable up till now. The last onshore tender also put Germany at 4.45 cents. The continuous acquisitions within the industry are creating new structures. In order to maintain or even increase their competitiveness, the various market participants need to work together closely. This also applies to the heterogeneous market for maintenance.
The European wind energy markets differ from each other in many respects. Economic conditions and national political frameworks directly affect and control wind energy. In Spain, for example, subsidisation has been withdrawn entirely. This means that the wind energy market conditions here are completely different than in Germany. In turn, the Spanish market with its wide variety of participants offers quite different opportunities than, for example, the wind energy market in the UK.
Benefiting from the diversity of international experience
I see this diversity as a great opportunity. The market for maintenance has the same specific characteristics as the wind energy sector as a whole. We collect and analyse our experience from national markets and transfer that knowledge to other markets. On the one hand, this enables us to avoid mistakes. On the other, we can use our international experience to develop innovative service strategies and provide answers to questions whose relevance has not yet been completely recognised in the corresponding target markets.
The industry is consolidating
The technology being serviced as well as the market for wind turbine manufacturers, as a whole are both subject to constant change. The leaps in technology that we are seeing have clearly led to faster development. There are challenges as well as opportunities, particularly in the areas of performance and control technology, software, data, documentation, and analysis.
Competition among manufacturers has always been decisively influenced by acquisitions. This tendency has increased sharply over the last ten to fifteen years. Despite all of the takeovers, individual manufacturers still have confidence in their own strategies.
In the current situation regional manufacturers have almost completely disappeared from the market. Most are looking to global competition as a means to succeed. Experts are expecting to see further consolidation over the next few years. The market will probably comprise of four or five large, globally positioned turbine manufacturers.