The world economy is showing signs of recovery after many years of being battered by the financial crisis. This is vital for the wind industry so that investments flow into the industry, and at the same time, transformation still continues. Announcements of investments in Dong Energy as well as Mitsubishi and Vestas joining forces are good indications that the strong players are ready to invest in the promising offshore wind.
Also China is clearly determined to move offshore, but just more carefully than a few years ago. A necessary part of the transformation is to reduce the number of production sites and outsource non-core manufacturing. Adjusting overcapacity to meet actual deliveries is essential before the industry will turn back into the black.
Bigger and better turbines are being developed to meet the grid requirements; more reliable drive trains will feature inbuilt quality. Quality is the driver also in China, as China has built enough turbines already. Now is the time when quality is more important than quantity.
At The Switch, we are promoting collaboration, modern drive trains and scalable production. Collaboration is needed between component manufacturers, service providers and turbine manufacturers – and also among turbine manufacturers. The reducing number of factories will produce components for multiple customers. Production networks should have a good view of future volumes and be able to adjust to demand. Also after-sales services and resources, like offshore vessels, must have high utilization rates.
Permanent magnet generators have become most popular drive train in China. Now they are making their way to Europe, starting from multi-megawatt turbines. Full-power converters will eventually replace double-fed units due to stricter grid requirements and the reactive power production required on a park level.
We are not out of the woods yet in the wind industry; we can see we have another recovery year ahead. That’s why we are remaining agile in the value chain based on customer requirements. This includes seeking opportunities for our technology in new application areas, like marine, CHP, solar and industrial OEM applications. We have existing manufacturing both in Europe and China, and the ability to ramp up Model Factories in new countries.
In all, we aim to be the preferred partner for our customers and be closely linked to their strategies through collaboration in all we do.
President and CEO
This story is featured in Switching on Frequently 03/2013.
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