• Germany's news in English

Wind energy leaders eye US expansion

The Local · 14 Dec 2011, 07:04

Published: 14 Dec 2011 07:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Seeing huge rotor blades slash the sky in Germany has become commonplace over the last 20 years, as wind turbines have multiplied across the countryside.

But as the country races to meet European Union renewable energy targets, companies are not only under pressure to meet the time constraints of the EU’s Energy Roadmap 2050 – which highlights wind energy as a prominent future power source – they are also running out of room to expand on German soil.

Meanwhile, the US is pursuing its own renewable energy goals – a US Department of Energy report published in 2008 suggests covering 20 percent of American power needs with wind energy by 2030. And German experience in the wind energy sector will be an important component for the United States, according to Michael Blank, vice-president of the German-American chamber of commerce.

“I think what’s good for Europe is also good for the US,” Blank said.

The United States is also good for German industry in terms of potential wind power far outstripping that of Europe.

US market analysis

For years, the US was the biggest provider and installer of wind energy, although China has recently pulled ahead. In 2010, the United States claimed 20.7 percent of wind energy installed capacity and market share, just under China’s 21.8 percent, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. Germany ranked third at 14 percent.

Nonetheless, factors such as the English language and similar business cultures draw German energy companies more toward the United States, said Christine Wörlen, renewable energy policies expert at Berlin-based consultancy AREPO.

“The US is attractive because one has the feeling, as a German, that the entire country, the entire United States, is one single market,” she said.

Wörlen emphasized, however, that German energy leaders may view the US market size through rose-tinted glasses since large policy differences can exist state-to-state, especially in renewable energy.

“The tricky part in the US is that it’s separated into two pieces: the federal side and state side. On the state side, the goal is really to build up renewable energy, on the federal side, there’s not a lot the government can do. It’s very challenging to deal with these local interest groups and get a unified voice. In Germany there are a lot more unified national initiatives,” said Matthew Allen, consulting services manager at the German American Chamber of Commerce.

German energy leaders, such as Siemens and BayWa AG, a Munich-based agricultural products and building-materials maker, still see the United States as very important in terms of wind energy and are expanding their companies in the US, hoping for an American renewable energy boom.

“The US is one of the most important wind power markets in the world, ranking number two in both new installations and cumulative installations at the end of 2010,” Mark Albenze, CEO of Siemens Energy's Wind Power Americas business unit, told The Local in an email.

German companies established in onshore wind

The US company GE Wind is the dominant provider for wind turbines in the United States, but according to Allen, many German companies helped develop the technology for onshore wind farms, already well-established in the United States.

Siemens, for example, currently operates ten US wind facilities, including a nacelle assembly facility in Kansas and a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa. And BayWa in August acquired 70 percent of WKN USA, LLC of the North Wind USA, Inc., a subsidiary of German international wind engineering company WKN AG.

“In wind energy, Siemens was number two in terms of installed capacity in the US in 2010. In the last five years, the US market has represented more than 40 percent of Siemens’ global installations,” Albenze said.

Kenersys, a wind turbine manufacturing company based in Münster, in May premièred its K100 turbine at Lincoln Electric world headquarters in Ohio.

“The USA are one of the most important and most promising wind energy markets in the world,” Paulo Fernando Soares, Kenersys Group CEO, said in a statement. “When Kenersys started in 2007 in Europe and Asia-Pacific, the US (had) already been an instrumental part of our growth strategy.”

Strategic positioning for offshore wind

In comparison to terrestrial wind parks, offshore wind energy is still developing. But bi-yearly conferences, such as the German American Offshore Conference, held October 18 in New Jersey, attract German companies to the United States for networking and showcasing their wares.

Germany’s own handful of offshore wind farms, including Alpha Ventus, opened April 2010 in the North Sea, and Baltic 1, which opened in May 2011 in the Baltic Sea, have set the stage for future expansion.

Story continues below…

But in Germany, “the offshore sector is not completely open yet,” Dietmar Schültz, president of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) said in Berlin at the 2011 annual renewable energy conference.

Strict zoning laws – German offshore wind parks must be located at least 30 kilometres from shore – and limited space have caused energy leaders to look elsewhere for expansion possibilities.

“In the US, we’re getting closer to building a market, and the German companies also recognize that,” Allen said.

Siemens, attempting to insure its industry-leading position in offshore wind power development, has already secured contracts with Cape Wind, the premier US-offshore wind project off the coast of Nantucket in Massachusetts, to provide turbine equipment and with Deepwater Wind, a planned project near Block Island, Rhode Island.

“The offshore market is also beginning to materialize in the US. Greater research and interest is developing in the northeast region,” Albenze said. “We believe wind is here to stay and are confident in the long-term outlook of the renewable energy market in the US.”

Erin Huggins

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:25 December 14, 2011 by storymann
The USA has a vast potencial for wind and solar energy, and a good market to get into as long as the Texas oil conservatives remain out of the White House.

Germany will really have to sharpen their pencils to get the lions share as the following companies are selling and producing more generators than the Enecron and Siemens.

Denmark Vestas 14.8%

China Sinovel 11.1%

United States GE Wind Energy 9.6%

China Goldwind 9.5
10:53 December 14, 2011 by pepsionice
The general issue in the US is that the only 4-star area to put wind farms....is this area from the Dakotas down to Texas. Various studies have been done on regional study. Everybody wants to pump out wind farms over all fifty states, and it's just practical.
15:56 December 14, 2011 by Illogicbuster
LOL! There is not a SINGLE non-taxpayer subsidized wind farm in the US. The US congress will not be pouring any more $ down this rat hole. I hope this German company has fall back plans...
20:04 December 14, 2011 by Wise Up!
Too late, China already corned that market!
20:38 December 14, 2011 by derExDeutsche
With the Corruption associated with 'Green Energy' and the White House in the US(not to mention the screaming idiots), the Americans are angry enough to elect an Administration so antiGreen, the only place they might plant one of these is in a Germans butt.
23:45 December 14, 2011 by zeddriver
I've actually attended a meeting in Washington state concerning wind turbines. The biggest opponents to them absolutely does not come from the right. The opponents come from two groups. The first and biggest opposition comes from environmentalists. They claim that the turbines disrupt bird migration routes and are dangerous to birds that migrate at night.

The second are the rich from both parties that own big homes near good places to plant the turbines. They don't oppose the use of them. But they do have a saying. It's called nimby ( not in my back yard ) Ted Kennedy blocked them from going up near Marthas vineyard. Because he and the other well to do thought they were ugly.
01:01 December 15, 2011 by Aravinda perera
Anyone here a Wind or PV developer?
02:55 December 15, 2011 by Khalidhameed
I am more skeptic about Germany's ambition of souring 32% wind energy uptil 2020, as most the installation are to build in north sea transferring power from north to south would cause over burden in transmission system. Not to forget Germany's crazy ambition of phasing out nuclear, I think Germany should capture share in US markets but keeping in view its own hurdles.

Due to this shortage of energy is expected in this winter
14:48 December 25, 2011 by shahislam
Of course, the ensuing new generation geopolitical atmosphere will facilitate, by all means the avoidance of 'Do or Die' situations for only forcing the 'self luxury seeking, dishonest leader-ships' in the global context to willingly surrender to the demand of time and quit practices of power manipulations without violence.

I am sure, by the grace of CC, in the rare 'Field of obscure but world changing blessed mental power of positive thoughts' brilliant he has the best of the best capacity along with backing of 'forgiveness and honesty based powerful guys like me' and that is why "We shall win in the biggest ways" although not easily but with lots of unselfish tasks and breaking ideas -aimed at far distances where too many jobs will be available for decades in producing agricultural products and constructing buildings, bridges, roadways, giant but countless air-crafts etc. not only in and for North-American territory but in and for all corners of the World under the forever humanitarian US enterprises -honestly regulated by new 'Tax rules', laws, 'No deficit or balanced trades', foreign policies etc.. (e.g. If totally new generation politicking become able to replace the hereditary styled -parasitical ones in Bangladesh, controlled by money hungry businessmen and thugs with low mentality like too selfish animals, Bangladesh by its jobless own labor force, collected tax and printed money, imported materials, machines and expert help can immediately start dozens of desperately needed huge bridges, elevated roadways etc. and if USA can replace Chinese labors for Bangladeshi cheaper labors; only because of balanced trade policy USA can become the supplier of needed foreign materials, instead of India or China. (In short: Both have huge trade deficits with Bangladesh-of which the 160 million member: public dream is bigger than ever to have standards and things comparable to the ones the Westerners have and thus engage USA in mutually benefiting many businesses).
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd